Having a Bad Week? Tricks for Turning It Around

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Everyone has had a week when nothing goes right. You put your foot in your mouth at a meeting, wear shoes you regret by lunch, miss a friend’s birthday dinner and drop your phone in a puddle.

It is possible to turn around the momentum in a terrible week. You can’t fend off all bad luck, but if you change your reaction, it can have a very powerful effect.

Technology executive Sonita Lontoh made an effort to stay calm earlier this month when a string of mishaps disrupted a trip to Albany, N.Y., where she was set to make a presentation. A flight delay caused her to miss her connecting flight in Chicago. The airline refused to retrieve her bags or pay for a hotel, so she found a room and checked in sans fresh clothing. Just as she was getting ready to fall asleep, she spilled a glass of water on her phone, cutting off access to her work email.

The next morning, she raced to catch an early flight and left her laptop charger in the hotel room. Arriving in Albany, she was told her luggage was still in Chicago. “I really wanted to just scream and lose it, but I told myself that would make me even more stressed out,” says Ms. Lontoh, who lives in San Francisco.

Rather than panicking, she took concrete steps to regain control. She hurried to a store, bought a new outfit and freshened up in a public restroom. By remaining calm, she says, “you handle yourself better, and you handle the other person better,” making others more likely to help. And staying calm also frees you to “focus on the task at hand and have faith that things will work out in the end.”

One way she calmed herself was by looking in the mirror and shifting her focus away from the mishaps to a more optimistic view: “Sonita, this is just another morning,” she told herself. “Everything will work out.” She made the meeting, borrowed a laptop charger, and her presentation went well.

Mishaps make people feel anxious and uncertain, and often lead them to look for patterns as a way to regain a sense of control, according to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University.

At these moments, it is worth remembering that misfortune is often a random event. There is always a probability that several bad things will happen at once, says Jane. L. Risen, an associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a researcher on judgment and magical thinking.

Many people, however, have a tendency to see cause-and-effect relationships where there are none. They might interpret neutral events as negative or fall back on a magical belief, such as, “I’m being punished by the universe.”

People who see themselves as lucky might also engage in counterfactual thinking of a different sort. They imagine worse things that might have happened but didn’t, and feel grateful, according to an oft-cited study of 400 people years ago by British researcher Richard Wiseman. If another car crushes your back fender, soften the blow by thinking, “I’m lucky my car wasn’t totaled.”

Bad luck may seem to follow when someone tempts fate. Dan Blank had a bad week that seemed to begin immediately after a friend observed that his 10-year-old Jeep never seemed to need repairs. “What are you doing?” Mr. Blank fired back. “Everybody knows you don’t mess with a streak” by talking about it. The Jeep’s radiator gave out the next day, requiring a $600 repair.

The likelihood, of course, was already high that the Jeep would need repairs. Still, Mr. Blank, a former university soccer coach in Port Charlotte, Fla., and author of “Soccer IQ,” saw his friend’s comments as a jinx. And things actually did get worse. In the next few days, Mr. Blank’s credit card was stolen, he lost a book manuscript in a computer crash, he sprained his ankle playing soccer and he had a bad first (and last) date.

When Mr. Blank took his motorboat out on Florida’s Intercoastal Waterway to relax, the steering locked during a sharp turn and the boat went spinning in circles, “like I was being flushed down a toilet,” he says. He cut the engine and called a tow boat, while onlookers at a nearby waterfront bar laughed and hooted.

“I started thinking that if I was watching a movie and all this was happening to somebody else, I’d be laughing,” says Mr. Blank of the week. Years later, he still hasn’t forgotten it. “What have I done to bring this on myself?” he wondered. “I’d had such smooth sailing for a long time, I guess it was just my turn.”

At times we get so rattled by a bit of bad luck that we make things worse. A belief that you are unlucky has been linked to deficits in decision-making skills, self-control and shifting from one task to another, according to a 2013 study led by John Maltby, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Leicester in England.

ENLARGE
ILLUSTRATION: ROB SHEPPERSON

In a series of four studies, the researchers asked 334 participants whether they believed they were lucky or unlucky, then surveyed or tested them on several cognitive tasks related to executive functioning, the high-level mental processes involved in pursuing and achieving goals.

Participants who believed they were unlucky saw themselves as lacking in executive-function skills. They performed poorly on timed task-switching tests, which required them to classify letters, digits or symbols in a random stream of characters, as well as on a test of their ability to control impulsive responses and a gambling task that tested their ability to learn from mistakes and make wise decisions. It wasn’t clear which condition–feeling unlucky or lacking mental skills–caused the other, but researchers wrote the relationship might go both ways.

Miranda Marquit a freelance writer and blogger from Idaho Falls, Idaho, says a recent bad week started when she interviewed poorly with a prospective client. Unnerved, she was a little too aggressive on her next call, when she tried but failed to persuade a potential donor to contribute to a professional conference she helps organize. “The negative thoughts started snowballing,” she recalls. She missed a deadline the next day. Then, while fencing with her 13-year-old son, she fell and shattered her wrist, requiring surgery plus six to eight weeks to recover.

Ms. Marquit couldn’t afford to sit around, so she turned her thoughts to positive steps she could take. She decided to try dictation software, which enabled her to get back to work. She took comfort in thinking about her network of family members and friends, who would type for her if necessary. She credits her positive attitude as the reason she’s recovering faster than expected.

Research has found that thinking about cherished values can allay stress and improve performance on challenging tasks. Participants in the UT-Northwestern study were less rattled, and less likely to see imaginary patterns in their misfortune, when they were given an assignment that allowed them to affirm values that were important to them, researchers found. Other studies have shown that students who write about things they value before a high-stakes exam tend to perform better.

Another helpful technique is mental time travel, Dr. Risen says. Imagine yourself in the future; think about how, after the misfortune is over, you’ll have a good story to tell.

Superstitious rituals, such as knocking on wood, can actually help, by instilling positive expectations. Some rituals encompass a phenomenon called embodied cognition, wherein a person’s thinking is shaped by his or her physical movements. The pushing-away motion involved in knocking on wood, or simply throwing a ball away from one’s body, causes people to visualize anticipated misfortunes as less likely to happen, according to a 2013 study co-authored by Dr. Risen. Similarly, wearing a good-luck talisman or picking a four-leaf clover may create positive expectations, as if you’re shielding yourself from bad luck or drawing good fortune your way.

Article Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/having-a-bad-week-tricks-for-turning-it-around-1461690636

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No time to get fit? Think again — just 1 minute of intense exercise produces health benefits

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Researchers at McMaster University have found that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer, traditional endurance training.

The findings put to rest the common excuse for not getting in shape: there is not enough time.

“This is a very time-efficient workout strategy,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study. “Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective.”

Scientists set out to determine how sprint interval training (SIT) compared to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), as recommended in public health guidelines. They examined key health indicators including cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity, a measure of how the body regulates blood sugar.

A total of 27 sedentary men were recruited and assigned to perform three weekly sessions of either intense or moderate training for 12 weeks, or to a control group that did not exercise).

The McMaster team has previously shown that the SIT protocol, which involved three 20-second ‘all-out’ cycle sprints, was effective for boosting fitness. The workout totaled just 10 minutes, including a 2-minute warm-up and 3-minute cool down, and two minutes of easy cycling for recovery between the hard sprints.

The new study compared the SIT protocol with a group who performed 45 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace, plus the same warm-up and cool down. After 12 weeks of training, the results were remarkably similar, even though the MICT protocol involved five times as much exercise and a five-fold greater time commitment.

“Most people cite ‘lack of time’ as the main reason for not being active”, according to Gibala. “Our study shows that an interval-based approach can be more efficient — you can get health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time.”

Gibala, who has studied has been studying interval training for more than a decade. O, was the first researcher to show that a few minutes per week of intense exercise produced benefits similar to longer, continouous workouts. Over time, his team has experimented with different protocols in an effort to identify the most time-efficient exercise strategies.

“The basic principles apply to many forms of exercise,” he says. “Climbing a few flights of stairs on your lunch hour can provide a quick and effective workout. The health benefits are significant.”

The findings are published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Article Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/mu-ntt042716.php

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Can Shampoos With Caffeine Thicken Men’s Hair?

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Many men struggle with baldness and wonder about new treatments. Some shampoos and lotions contain caffeine and promise to help keep hair thick and full. How does the evidence stack up?

A 2014 study found that caffeine has a “potent” effect in growing hair in laboratory conditions. But real-world tests of the efficacy of caffeine-containing shampoos and lotions are rare, and those that have been done show a modest effect.

The laboratory work sounds “really promising. But in terms of clinical application we’re not there yet,” says Tina Alster, a clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. More rigorously designed studies in humans are needed, she says.

Androgenetic alopecia, which can affect both men and women, is hair loss caused as testosterone shortens the hair follicle’s growth cycle, resulting in progressively shorter, finer hair, says Ingrid Roseborough, a clinical instructor at the department of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco.

In the 2014 study published in British Journal of Dermatology, a team of academic researchers found that small concentrations of caffeine, applied to hair follicles extracted from human males and grown in a lab, counteracted the effects of testosterone, stimulating hair growth and prolonging the time the hair follicles remained in their growth phase. The study found the caffeine also had a beneficial effect on female hair growth, but only when used in an even more diluted form than was used for male hair follicles.

Earlier research by the same scientists found that higher concentrations of caffeine can actually suppress hair growth in men and women. This could be because the caffeine overstimulated the hair follicle, the researchers suggested. “It’s hard to predict exactly how much is too much of this agent. We just don’t have the information,” says Dr. Roseborough, who was not involved in the study. She noted that the lab experiment was done over just a few days, so it isn’t clear it will translate to long-term results in humans.

Caffeine-containing products that hit the U.S. market in recent years include Dove Men+Care Thick & Strong Fortifying 2 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner, about $4 to $5 for 12 ounces from London’s Unilever PLC, and Hair Surge, $43.99 for eight ounces, from Ultrax Developments Corp. in Phoenix. In addition to caffeine, Hair Surge has other hair-thickening ingredients, says Kyle Uchitel, Ultrax co-owner.

Neither company has published studies on the products, but Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 from family-owned business Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG in Bielefeld, Germany, has been tested in studies published in 2010 and 2013 in the Journal of Applied Cosmetology. Alpecin Caffeine Liquid, which was designed to be applied after washing and can be used in conjunction with the shampoo or alone, was tested in a 2011 study.

There was “a little bit” of hair regrowth seen in the studies, “but it does not mean your hair will grow like when you were 20 years old,” says dermatologist Leonard Celleno, a researcher at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. It’s possible the products could have an additive effect if used in conjunction with other hair-growth products, such as minoxidil, but the Sacred Heart studies didn’t test that, he adds. The studies were funded by the company.

Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH plans to begin selling Alpecin shampoo and liquid in the U.S. this summer, says Theresa Ladleif, product manager. The price has not yet been set. The products can be used in males from puberty, to begin counteracting the effects of testosterone on hair follicles as soon as possible, she says.

While the Alpecin products are designed for men, they can be used by women, particularly after menopause when hormone balance begins to change, she adds.

Article Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-shampoos-with-caffeine-thicken-mens-hair-1461598463

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Stress and Testosterone: How Stress Chokeholds the Endocrine System and Few Ways to Combat This

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It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the term stress means, but an explanation that comes rather close, goes something like this:“stress is the body’s principal method of reacting to a challenge”. To open up the term a bit more, this “reaction to challenge” can be divided into two categories.
Short-term stress, where a quick challenge (a fight for example) arises and the body reacts to that with a burst of stress hormones (glucocorticoids), which makes you more alert and focused to tackle the stressor. This kind of stress is often not detrimental to health and has no long-term effects in the body. Many experts believe that short bouts of manageable stress (ie: small daily challenges) can in fact be a healthy thing to have.

Long-term stress, where the challenge is something that goes on for a long period of time (for example: a demanding boss that gives you work related tasks that feel unbareable, or a debt that you simply can’t pay, etc). It’s this kind of chronic stress that keeps stress hormone levels high for extended periods of time, often leading to detrimental effects on health of the body and mind. It’s also this kind of stress that wrecks havoc in the endocrine system, and the kind we will be covering in this article.
So, short-term stress can be a good thing to have…

…Long-term stress on the other hand, why it’s so unhealthy? And how does it affect your hormonal health?

Long-Term Stress and Testosterone

There are two major reasons as to why chronic long-term stress hammers testosterone production.

Firstly, the principal stress steroid hormone; cortisol, which is released from the adrenal cortex during times of prolonged stress, has a direct testosterone suppressing effect inside the hypothalamus and testicular leydig cells.

Secondly, the synthesis of cortisol requires cholesterol, a molecule that is also needed in the biosynthesis of testosterone. When cortisol levels skyrocket during stress, more of this essential building block goes towards creating cortisol.

Obviously those are not the only reasons that can cause fucked-up T levels during prolonged stress. As a guy who battled with some serious work-related stress few years ago, I can guarantee you that increased alcohol consumption, messed up sleep quality, poor diet, lack of exercise, and depression can (and more than likely will) contribute to the stress induced reduction in testosterone.

The research on how long-term stress (both physical and mental) alters testosterone levels is rather cruel:

Science Behind Stress and Testosterone:
a) In multiple animal studies, it has been noted that nearly all kinds of long-term stressors (surgical stress, noise stress, immobilization stress, oxidative stress, chronic stress, etc) can significantly lower testosterone levels in various species (study,study, study, study, study, study, study, study, study, study, study, study). In pretty much all of these studies, the suppression of testosterone goes hand-in-hand with the increase in cortisol, and the reduction in testosterone is not caused by increased excertion, but through decreased production.

b) In military studies, psychological stressors (such as the fear of combat or death) have been linked to significant reductions in testosterone. Same goes for stressful military training courses, such as: the officer school, ranger school, and survival training (study, study, study, study, study, study, study). One study also showed that refugees who experience physiological stress, have low testosterone and luteinizing hormone levels, coupled with very high cortisol levels.

c) In non-military men, chronic stress, and stress-related depression has been linked to low testosterone production and elevated cortisol levels (study, study, study, study, study).

d) Surgical stress is no different (be this physical or psychological), it lowers testosterone levels too, usually the magnitude of the suppression is directly correlated with the severity of the surgery (study, study, study, study).

Bottom line: Chronic stress (be it physical or psychological) has a tendency to lower testosterone levels, and this suppressive effect is nearly always caused by elevated cortisol production.

How can you combat this chronically high stress then? Try some of the tricks below.

Meditation and relaxation exercises have been very effective at lowering cortisol and increasing testosterone levels in multiple human studies (study, study, study)

Just simply walking in nature (forest walking, hiking, etc), has been linked to significantly lowered cortisol levels in Japanese test subjects.

Adaptogenic herbs (Rhodiola Rosea, Ashwagandha, Shilajit, etc) have a really good track-record at lowering cortisol, while simultaneously increasing testosterone.

Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the secretion of cortisol during stress, and it also has the ability to relieve the damaging effects of the stress hormone.

Increased duration of sleep has a significant cortisol suppressing effect in stressed subjects. However, restful sleep is not always that easy to achieve during chronic stress.

Exercise is often recommended as a “stress-reliever” but it’s important to remember that high-intensity exercise can also skyrocket the already elevated cortisol levels. So stick to something light if you’re under chronic stress.

Just a simple posture-hack can increase testosterone levels by 20%, while lowering cortisol by -25%, in less than two minutes. This has been proven in a human study conducted by the Harvard University.

Carbohydrate consumption has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels (study, study, study), whereas low-carb dieters often have high serum cortisol. The take home message? Don’t eat low-carb when you’re under stress.

Conclusion

Chronic stress is a real testosterone killer, and if you’re under “real stress” (as in something that truly fucking crumbles you) I don’t even have to tell you that, you can feel it yourself.

As a guy who has been under that kind of stress few years ago, I know that it doesn’t help shit when someone just tells you to “stop thinking about it” or gives you some tips such as: “try to sleep more”, “exercise”, “drink more water”, etc…

…But just so you know, chronic stress really hammers your testosterone production, the quicker you can get rid of it, the better it is for your endocrine system. How you decide to do it, is completely up to you. And remember, this is all just advice

Article Source: http://www.anabolicmen.com/stress-and-testosterone/

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Prescription Steroids Get a Quiet Exemption

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U.S. Anti-Doping Agency creates new permission for amateur athletes with medical conditions

Last September, the U.S. Anti Doping Agency gave Jeff Hammond a green light he never expected: USADA said that Hammond, a masters cyclist, could compete in races while using medically prescribed testosterone.

“I started crying,” said Hammond, whose doctor prescribed testosterone in 2012 for a bone-weakening condition.

USADA isn’t broadcasting the news. But it has created a new exemption for masters and amateur athletes who are prescribed banned drugs. Called a Recreational Competitor Therapeutic Use Exemption, it allows masters and amateur athletes to compete in low-level competitions while taking banned substances. An athlete must prove to USADA that he or she is unlikely to actually win one of these amateur races, in addition to proving a medical need for an illicit chemical.

“Out of fairness to those non-competitive athletes, we put in place a process that allows for them to compete while still requiring a fair and reasonable review of each recreational athlete’s medical situation,” USADA said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

Testosterone, an anabolic steroid, is perhaps the most popular doping chemical in sports history, due to its ability to boost muscle mass and improves recovery. Since 2002, USADA has banned 32 athletes for testosterone, including cyclist Lance Armstrong. Major-league baseball players Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon also received sanctions for testosterone use.

As a therapeutic remedy, supplemental testosterone provides health benefits to men with missing or damaged testicles, or with naturally low levels of the hormone. Chronically low testosterone—called hypogonadism—can cause osteoporosis, among other problems. According to a 2013 report published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, testosterone therapy in men over 40 increased threefold from 2001-2011. In men with naturally low levels, supplemental testosterone theoretically would provide no advantage over other competitors.

Testosterone’s illicit use in the 1980’s and 1990’s persuaded the International Olympic Committee to adopt a zero-tolerance policy, said Don Catlin, a former IOC executive and scientist who helped pioneer dope testing.

“If somebody asked for a testosterone [TUE], we simply wrote a letter saying no,” said Catlin. “Anytime you give a TUE for a drug that truly enhances performance, the news spreads like wildfire. More athletes will want to use it.”

Over time, that position softened. A USADA spokesman said the organization has granted TUE documents to elite athletes who met very strict medical criteria.

Exemptions weren’t an issue for recreational athletes until recent years, when USADA began testing some lower-level athletes at some triathlons, foot races and cycling events.

In 2010 52-year-old runner Val Barnwell tested positive for testosterone after winning the 2009 Masters track world championships. In 2015, the winner of the amateurs-only Gran Fondo New York, Oscar Tovar, had his title stripped after recording a positive test for testosterone. Real estate salesman Greg Pizza, 62, tested positive after competing at the 2015 USA Track and Field National Masters Championships.

In 2013, USADA issued a two-year ban to masters track runner Roger Wenzel, who said he was prescribed testosterone to treat Parkinson’s disease. Wenzel died of liver cancer in 2015 at the age of 66. Wenzel’s widow, Jane Wenzel, said her husband considered challenging USADA in court, but instead spoke to a local newspaper columnist about his ordeal.

“We didn’t have the resources to take [USADA] on,” Wenzel said.

After Hammond received a testosterone prescription at age 58 in 2012, he applied with USADA for a TUE. athlete to use a banned substance for medical reasons. When USADA denied his application, Hammond hung up his bike.

“I knew the chances were extremely small that I’d ever be tested,” said Hammond, who teaches communication at Colorado’s Metro State University. “I didn’t want to go to races always worrying that I’d be tested.”

This past September Hammond again applied for a TUE, expecting to receive another rejection.

To his surprise, USADA mailed him a Recreational Competitor Therapeutic Use Exemption. Thrilled, he said, “It had broken my heart to stop racing.”

USADA received a legal challenge to its TUE procedures for testosterone in 2014 from Texas urologist Sloan Teeple. Teeple, 45, was banned for 18 months after testing positive at a local mountain bike race in 2013, where he finished in the middle of the pack.

Teeple, who was diagnosed with hypogonadism in 2005, said he applied with USADA for a TUE in 2011 and 2012, but was denied both times. When USADA denied Teeple’s third TUE application, he requested an arbitration hearing. Teeple hired sports lawyer Howard Jacobs, who has represented multiple high-profile athletes accused of doping.

“I felt that I wasn’t doing anything morally or ethically wrong,” Teeple said. “I wanted a panel of arbitrators to hear my story and decide what is right.”

USADA declined to comment on Teeple’s case. Teeple said he and Jacobs scheduled a meeting with USADA’s lawyers and three arbitrators in Austin, Texas, in July 2014. On the eve of the meeting, Teeple said, USADA asked Teeple to suspend his testosterone treatment for six weeks, and then submit blood levels along with results from an MRI of his brain.

After following the instructions, Teeple received an email in June 2015 containing a Recreational Competitor TUE.

USADA declined to say how many Recreational Competitor TUE applications it has granted.

Teeple, who blogged about his experience, said he and Hammond are the only two athletes he knows of with the documents.

Jacobs, who previously represented disgraced sprinter Marion Jones and Landis in their respective doping cases, said he had never heard of the Recreational Competitor TUE before receiving the Teeple’s document from USADA.

“[USADA] told me it was something new that they had just created,” Jacobs said. “I see it as a compromise.”

Article Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/prescription-steroids-get-a-quiet-exemption-1461365753

In some men, taking testosterone while dieting may help lose fat, not muscle

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Overall, 40 percent of obese men have a low testosterone. Weight loss due to calorie restriction is associated with increased circulating testosterone, and testosterone treatment reduces fat. However, researchers don’t know whether adding testosterone treatment to calorie restriction reduces fat mass more than calorie restriction alone.

“There is an epidemic of obesity and related functional hypogonadism, yet testosterone treatment remains controversial,” said principal investigator Mathis Grossmann, MD, PhD, FRACP, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. “This study shows for the first time that, among obese men with lowered testosterone, testosterone treatment augmented the diet-induced loss of total and visceral fat mass and prevented the diet-induced loss of lean mass.”

Dr. Grossman and colleagues conducted a clinical trial of 100 fairly healthy obese men from the local community between 20 and 70 years of age who had low testosterone levels. Overall, 20 percent of them had diabetes and 10 percent had heart disease.

For the first 10 weeks, all participants were placed on a strict 600 kcal per day very-low calorie diet. They were also encouraged to abstain from alcohol and perform at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise. From the 11th through the 56th week, participants in both groups used a weight-maintenance diet based on the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Total Wellbeing Diet comprising of normal foods.

Every 10 weeks over the 56-week-long study, 49 men also received injections of 1,000mg of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate, and 51 took placebo.

At the end of 56 weeks, both groups lost roughly 11 kg (24.2 lb). But those in the testosterone group lost almost exclusively fat, while those on placebo lost both lean and fat. The men taking testosterone lost 3 kg (6.6 lb) more body fat than those on placebo and maintained their muscle mass, while those on placebo lost 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) of muscle mass.

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council supported the study. Bayer Pharma AG provided testosterone, placebo and financial support but was not directly involved in the study.

Article Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/tes-ism040216.php

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Testosterone therapy decreases hospital readmissions in older men with low testosterone

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A new large-scale population-based study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed for the first time that older men using testosterone therapy were less likely to have complications that require them to go back to the hospital within a month of being discharged than men not using this therapy. The study is currently available in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Using nationally representative SEER-Medicare linked data, the researchers identified 6,372 men over 66 with low testosterone who were hospitalized at least once between January 2007 and December 2012. The distribution of age, ethnicity/race and marital status were comparable between testosterone users and nonusers.

The study analyzed data to determine the patients’ risk of going back to the hospital within 30 days after hospital discharge. The older men receiving therapy for low testosterone were less likely to return to the hospital. The overall rate of 30-day hospital readmissions was 9.8 percent for testosterone users and 13 percent for non-users. This decline was stronger for emergency readmissions, with a rate of 6.2 percent for testosterone users and 10 percent for non-users.

“It is possible that our findings of decreased hospitalization among male Medicare beneficiaries who received testosterone therapy reflect the improved health, strength and exercise capacity seen in previous studies,” said lead author Jacques Baillargeon, UTMB professor of epidemiology in the department of preventative medicine and community health. “Our findings suggest that one of the benefits of androgen therapy may be quicker recovery from a hospital stay and lower readmission rates. Given the importance of potentially avoidable hospital readmissions among older adults, further exploration of this intervention holds broad clinical and public health relevance.”

Reducing avoidable hospital readmissions is a national health priority and a major focus of health care reform in the United States. When older persons go home after a stay in the hospital, many are less independent and have poorer day-to-day health. Previous studies have confirmed that age-related loss of muscle mass and strength is hastened by hospital stays and leads to higher rates of rehospitalizations, admission to long-term care facilities and death.

Testosterone deficiency is associated with muscle loss and overall health decline, rendering older men with low testosterone particularly vulnerable to “post-hospital syndrome.” Testosterone therapy, which increases muscle mass and strength, is reported to improve mobility, functional health and exercise capacity in older men with low testosterone.

Other authors of this paper include UTMB’s Rachel Deer, Yong-Fang Kuo, Dong Zhang, James Goodwin and Elena Volpi. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Article Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uotm-ttd041316.php

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