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Neuropsychology. 2009 Mar;23(2):158-67. doi: 10.1037/a0014182.

Free testosterone levels, attentional control, and processing speed performance in aging men.

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School of Psychology and Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide, SA, Australia.


Psychometric measures of processing speed are strong predictors of cognitive functioning with aging; however, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. Recently, the authors reported a negative association between calculated free testosterone levels (cEFT) and processing speed in men aged between 50 and 70 years (Martin, Wittert, Burns, & McPherson, 2008). Ex-Gaussian decomposition of reaction time (RT) distributions allows for the robust estimation of skew in the distribution, which may reflect poorer attentional control. In a reanalysis of data from this previous study, the authors examined the associations between age, cEFT levels, and ex-Gaussian parameters derived from four RT tasks as predictors of cognitive functioning performance in 96 middle-to-older aged men. Results indicated that cEFT levels were significantly associated with increased skew in the RT distribution (i.e., the exponential portion) but not with the estimates derived from the Gaussian portion of the curve. Further, path analysis across the entire data set showed that this association was a strong predictor of processing speed performance. Taken together these results suggest that cEFT levels moderate cognitive functioning performance in males via attentional control processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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