Re: [GRG] Sarcopenia

A smart way of using testosterone to prevent muscle wasting

MEDIA RELEASE: 31 Jul 2013

Professor Ken Ho and Dr Vita BirznieceNew Australian research
suggests that a small dose of testosterone directed solely to the
liver stimulates protein synthesis, likely preventing muscle loss
and wasting, and potentially promoting muscle growth. The
researchers believe they have developed a safe and effective
treatment for men and women, that could prevent the muscle wasting
associated with many chronic diseases and with ageing.

Dr Vita Birzniece and Professor Ken Ho, from Sydney’s Garvan
Institute of Medical Research, showed in healthy postmenopausal
women that a small dose of the male hormone testosterone prevented
protein wasting. The pure crystalline testosterone, taken orally,
went straight to the liver, and the dose (40mg/day) was small
enough to ensure it was contained there, with no spillover to the
bloodstream and other organs. The findings are now published online
in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

This new approach allows people to benefit from testosterone’s
ability to stimulate muscle growth and increase muscle strength. At
the same time, it sidesteps the side effects of testosterone when
given in the usual way – administered in much larger doses by
injection, gel or patch through the skin.

When testosterone is injected, it goes directly to peripheral
tissues and major organs, including the brain. This can cause
unwanted side effects, including aggressive behaviour and
heightened libido. It can also cause heart damage, and in women
induce facial hair and a deeper voice.

When taken orally in a small dose, it is absorbed through the gut
and goes straight to and acts on the liver, where it is also broken
down, so that no other tissue or organ is exposed.

“The novel aspect of this research is that only the liver gets
tickled with testosterone. It is a new way of using an old hormone”
said Professor Ken Ho.

“This is a great advantage because it avoids the unpleasant
behavioural effects of high doses of testosterone injected into the
bloodstream and the masculinising effects in women.”

“We saw that low dose testosterone, taken orally, had the same
magnitude of effect on whole body protein metabolism as when it is
injected in larger doses in men,” added Dr Vita Birzniece.

“This is really hopeful, because if we can see the same effect on
protein metabolism at this stage, we believe it will translate into
the same increase in muscle mass that we see from testosterone
delivered systemically, yet avoiding all the unpleasant side

The next step will be to recruit healthy men with lower
testosterone levels, as well as frail people, such as patients with
kidney failure.

If the researchers can see the same effect on protein metabolism in
several categories of frail people, they will design a placebo
controlled study, investigating the effect of oral testosterone on
muscle mass and function. If the results are positive, they will
recommend that this would be a novel safe treatment for muscle

“If we can reduce muscle wasting in frail elderly people, this
would prevent many falls, and therefore osteoporotic fractures,”
added Professor Ho.

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research was founded in 1963.
Initially a research department of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney,
it is now one of Australia’s largest medical research institutions
with over 600 scientists, students and support staff. Garvan’s main
research areas are: Cancer, Diabetes & Obesity, Immunology and
Inflammation, Osteoporosis and Bone Biology and Neuroscience.
Garvan’s mission is to make significant contributions to medical
science that will change the directions of science and medicine and
have major impacts on human health. The outcome of Garvan’s
discoveries is the development of better methods of diagnosis,
treatment, and ultimately, prevention of disease.

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Alison Heather

Science Communications Manager

M: + 61 434 071 326

P: +61 2 9295 8128

E: a.heather “a”


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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