Halting Alzheimer’s with testosterone and fish oil

A West Australian study investigating whether a testosterone and fish oil combination can prevent or postpone the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is seeking volunteers.

By Natasha Egan

Researchers in Western Australia are looking for older male volunteers with memory problems to take part in a study using testosterone and fish oil in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

With a $500,000 grant from the West Australian government, the Edith Cowan University (ECU) project will be the first to study the two treatments used together.

It will investigate if the combination can prevent or postpone the disease by reducing the protein beta amyloid, which has been identified as a possible cause of the disease. 

The goal of the treatment is to get in early before any primary damage to brain cells has occurred, said grant recipient Professor Ralph Martins, who is Chair in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease at ECU.

“It is not going to be a magic bullet, but if we can reduce the beta amyloid protein by 10 or 15 per cent that would be excellent,” Prof Martins said.

There’s anecdotal evidence suggesting testosterone and fish oil can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, said Prof Martins, who is also director at the Perth-based McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

Human studies have shown when testosterone levels have been reduced, there is more amyloid in the blood, and when testosterone is increased, there is a reduction in amyloid, he said.

In animals, testing has also shown that giving testosterone brings down amyloid levels. And similar tests with corresponding results have been done with fish oil, Prof Martins said.

However, this will be the first clinical trial in the world investigating both substances used together, he said.

The study is looking for 400 male volunteers from WA over the age of 60 who have experienced memory problems but have not been diagnosed with Alzeimer’s disease.

The trial will start in four weeks and last for 14 months.

Following an initial assessment, which involves psychological, blood and brain imaging tests, accepted participants will need to go into the Perth-based centre every 12 weeks for a testosterone injection and follow up tests.

Volunteers will be given fish oil capsules to be taken daily.

Prof Martins said he thinks the treatment would also benefit women, although the dose of testosterone would differ.

He would love to do such a study, but doesn’t have the funding to do it.

Prof Martin is also calling for more government funding and financial support to investigate the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and potentially successful treatments.

“We need to do the prevention trials if we’re going to have an impact on this disease,” Prof Martins said.

“We need to invest in these trials.”

To get involved in the trial or find out more, call the McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation on 08 9347 4200 or email trial@alzheimers.com.au.

Tags: alzheimers-disease, ecu, edith-cowan-university, mccusker-alzheimers-research-foundation, professor-ralph-martins,

12 thoughts on “Halting Alzheimer’s with testosterone and fish oil

  1. I am 63 years old and a self funed retiree.
    My mother died of Alzheimers,12 years ago.
    I do have some memory loss.
    I’m very keen to participate in this study.
    I can be contacted on 0417 003747.

  2. I am interested in joining the trial of testosterone and fish oil for alzheimers. Could you please contact me with more details either by email or 9404 8778.

    Thank you. Ron Smith

  3. I am interested in the projest and would like to participate I am 75 year old and in reasonable health.

  4. I would be very interested in being a partisipant in the tests. The only thing is I live in Atherton Q.L.D
    noel rawlins

  5. Thanks to all those who have expressed interest in this research. The details for finding out more about the research and how to participate are at the bottom of the story. Unfortunately, as journalists, we are not in a position to respond to enquiries from potential participants. All the best, Keryn Curtis, editor.

  6. I am 69 years old. My father suffered from Alzheimers diseaes a few years prior to his demise.

    I am intersted in being part of this trial.

  7. Research into dementia of the Alzheimer’s type is great but why, when two thirds of those afflicted are women, does a trial get government funding when it is restricted to men only!!! Testosterone is not a male only hormone, it is essential for women as well – and especially after menopause. Surely, this is state-funded discrimination. And Ralph Martins claiming he would love to extend the trial to women – but doesn’t have the funding to do it – is gobsmacking!!! How dare the WA government use our money to fund such a trial?

  8. I would like to participate in your study, as I have always had a memory problem, my Mother had dementia and I am now 61 years of age but feel quite cheated as the study is only open to men. I feel a bit of discrimination is going on here, as we do live much longer, so our problems should be more recognized, as we will be a much bigger health burden then men in the future with this disease.

  9. Amyloid plaques in the brain do not always lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, amyloid plaque removal does not mean you will not continue the progression of the disease, and so slowing the progression of amyloid plaques will do what? Is it not just a chance that for some people amyloid plaque is a problem or when there is a considerable load or something else…the tau tangles maybe? I’m not convinced but interested to see the outcome. As a woman, I am also concerned that the study is men only, even with differing testosterone dosage required. I wish you well and hope it leads to some better understanding.

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