Low testosterone linked to falling

From Times wire reports

Men 65 and older with low testosterone tend to fall more often than older men with higher levels of the sex hormone, researchers have found.

It may be that low levels of the hormone impair vision, thinking processes or coordination, said the report from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. It appeared in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study involved 2,587 men aged 65 to 99, starting in 2000 and continuing to March 2005. The subjects’ testosterone levels were checked through a blood test; their grip strength, leg power and balance ability were recorded; and every four months they reported whether they had fallen.

Fifty-six percent of the men had at least one fall, and many fell frequently, the researchers said. Lower testosterone levels were associated with increased fall risk generally, and men with the lowest testosterone levels had a 40% higher risk of falling than those with the highest levels.