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Aging Male. 2007 Jun;10(2):57-65.

Adding to the controversy: pitfalls in the diagnosis of testosterone deficiency syndromes with questionnaires and biochemistry.

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Centre for Applied Urological Research, Kingston General Hospital and Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.



To determine the value of available questionnaires used for the diagnosis of testosterone deficiency syndromes (TDS) by correlating their ratings with a panel of hormonal determinations in a male population.


Participants completed the ADAM questionnaire and underwent biochemical evaluation at the local site. Assessments determined entry into Group A (symptomatic) or Group B (non-symptomatic). After stratification, subjects provided a morning sample of blood, completed the Aging Male Survey (AMS) and the newly developed Canadian Society for the Study of the Aging Male (CSAM-Q) questionnaires. Serum aliquots were analysed at a central lab for 8 putative markers commonly associated with symptomatic testosterone deficiency associated with aging: total testosterone (T); bioavailable T (BT); dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S); sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG); luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin (PRL); thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).


92 men were screened; of these 59 (mean age of 58+/-11 years) completed the study, 30 (51%) scored positively (mean 61.5 years) to the ADAM while 29 (49%) did not (mean 54.1 years). For the AMS the weight of the three domains (psychological, somato-vegetative and sexual) was significantly greater in Group A (p<0.001) than in Group B. Equally, for the CAS questionnaire, the scores for the variables energy, global performance, frequency of intercourse, mood and quality of sleep were lower in Group A than in their asymptomatic counterparts (p<0.001). The domain of memory assessment within the CSSAM-Q was not discriminatory. ADAM and AMS are self-administered and completed within 10 minutes. CSSAM-Q is more time consuming, requires an investigator to administer, and memory domain is biased in favour of specific professional training. No difference was found between the two groups in 6 of 8 biochemical tests. However, significant lower values (p<0.001) were found for DHEA-S and IGF-1 in the symptomatic group as compared with the non-symptomatic cohort.


This study confirms that newer, more complex tools perform similarly to the simpler ADAM questionnaire. The lack of correlation between the clinical picture and the most commonly used biochemical confirmatory tests, again, clearly points to the paramount importance of the clinical evaluation. An emphasis and reliance on serum T alone hinders the clinician's ability to manage testosterone deficiency syndromes (TDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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