With the incidence of diabetes growing rapidly not just in Australia but around the world, scientists are desperately trying to discover the key to preventing this chronic metabolic disease. A fascinating new medical trial in Adelaide may have some of the answers they’ve been looking for… The study, lead by Professor Gary Wittert of Adelaide University, hopes to find out how men’s testosterone levels affect the development of type 2 diabetes.
Experts have long thought that low testosterone can cause diabetes in men. However, more research has been needed in order to fully understand this link. The new study will recruit a total of 1,500 men, who will be injected with the male hormone to see how it influences diabetes.
The study will also examine the role that weight plays in testosterone production and its link with diabetes. Previous research has shown that as men become obese, their bodies produce less testosterone. Professor Wittert’s study will find out whether weight loss alone will kick start production of the male hormone and thereby help prevent diabetes, or whether testosterone injections will be more effective.
The 1,500 recruits will include men aged between 50 and 74, who are currently at a high risk of developing diabetes. Half will be given the testosterone, whilst the other half will receive a placebo. They will be following the same diet and fitness program.
Several possible outcomes are expected of the study. One is the potential that subjects who are given the testosterone will be more inclined to commit to their weight loss and fitness program, as the male hormone has been shown to make people more motivated and goal-driven. The testosterone could also have a positive effect on body composition, leading to increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass. This could affect the way the way the muscles use sugar. Of course, the testosterone may have no effect whatsoever.
Type 2 diabetes is costing our health care system over 1 billion dollars every year – and the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is rising. The results of this new study could have significant implications on how to prevent and manage diabetes in men using testosterone, and will undoubtedly be eagerly awaited by the medical community.