Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Too little testosterone causes ignorance

In a widely misinterpreted study, the media and the authors of the study have concluded that "too much testosterone kills brain cells".

Tests on brain cells in lab dishes showed that while a little of the male hormone is good, too much of it causes cells to self-destruct in a process similar to that seen in brain illnesses such as Alzheimer's.

"Too little testosterone is bad, too much is bad but the right amount is perfect," said Barbara Ehrlich of Yale University in Connecticut, who led the study.
So how much is too much and how much is the right amount? What is the object of this study if we have completely vague results being shown. The average man produces around 10-20mg of testosterone a day. However, individuals who receive hormone replacement therapy receive a larger dose, and of course the implication being directed at steroid users is that "too much is bad".

"Next time a muscle-bound guy in a sports car cuts you off on the highway, don't get mad -- just take a deep breath and realize that it might not be his fault," Ehrlich said in a statement.
This comment smacks of pencil neck scientific bias towards "big muscle bound guy[s]". What kind of response is this from a person claiming to report on legitimate science? However, what is most clear about this study is how it was performed.

Tests on brain cells in lab dishes showed that while a little of the male hormone is good, too much of it causes cells to self-destruct in a process similar to that seen in brain illnesses such as Alzheimer's.
So, we have a completely in vitro study being equated with the common mythology of the foaming mouth, muscle man steroid user - a totally unfair analogy. Anyone with any amount of critical thinking should draw the obvious conclusion that this same test would need to be performed on healthy adult males using testosterone therapy in a double blind peer reviewed study in order to make any correlation with reality. For now, this is just more hype brought onto a meaningless study by a scandal hungry press and a researcher who seems to have reveled in her 15 minutes in the lime light. If anyone wants to look up some sensible studies would have to consult Pubmed. Unfortunately, there are very few real world studies involving steroid use in humans. So, now we'll have to endure the stigma of people equating testosterone usage with smoking marijuana. If another study were conducted that showed testosterone to be beneficial, it's highly doubtful it would make front page news or a top story on CNN.

CNN.com - Too much testosterone kills brain cells - Sep 27, 2006
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