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Concussion Symptom History Tied to Low Testosterone Levels

Past concussion and indicators for erectile dysfunction also linked in study of former football players

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There is an association between the number of concussion symptoms at the time of injury and the odds of reporting indicators of low testosterone level and erectile dysfunction among former football players, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in JAMA Neurology.

Rachel Grashow, Ph.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined associations between concussion symptom history and participant-reported indicators of low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. Researchers surveyed 3,506 former professional U.S.-style football players (mean age, 52.5 years) from January 2015 to March 2017.

The researchers found that the prevalence of indicators of low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction was 18.3 and 22.7 percent, respectively. For previously established risk factors (e.g., diabetes, sleep apnea, and mood disorders), the odds of reporting low testosterone levels or erectile dysfunction indicators were elevated. When adjusting for demographic characteristics, football exposures, and current health factors, there was a significant monotonically increasing association between concussion symptom score and the odds of reporting the low testosterone indicator (highest versus lowest quartile: odds ratio, 2.39; P < 0.001). Similar results were seen for the erectile dysfunction indicator (highest quartile versus lowest: odds ratio, 1.72).

“These findings suggest that men with a history of head injury may benefit from discussions with their health care clinicians regarding testosterone deficiency and sexual dysfunction,” the authors write.

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