In total, 3200 men in 8 different countries in Europe are taking part in the study. These 8 centres are Manchester - UK, Malmo - Sweden, Tartu - Estonia, Lodz - Poland, Szeged - Hungary, Florence - Italy, Santiago de Compostela - Spain, Leuven - Belgium. In each centre, 400 men aged between 40 and 79 years at the start of the study have been recruited. They will be followed up to look for future changes in their hormonal and general health status. The men will be investigated initially on two occasions, at the start and then 5 years later. It is highly likely that the study will continue beyond 5 years and further testing will be organised subsequently.
The study intends to identify and measure the differences in the symptoms and disabilities associated with ageing in men from various regions in Europe. It will also help clarify whether there is a clinical condition specific to the ageing male similar to the female menopause.
Ageing is the major global healthcare challenge of the 21st century due to the increasing average life expectancy and the concomitant burden of degenerative diseases, frailty, mood disturbances and disabilities/ dependency in a rapidly expanding elderly population worldwide
In women, symptoms and clinical consequence of ageing - related changes in hormone levels (in particular oestradiol) during and after the menopause are well documented In men, there is good evidence that many hormones, e.g. testosterone (especially free testosterone), dehydroepiandrosterone and growth hormone, decline progressively with age after the fourth decade. The exact relationships, however, between falling levels of circulating hormones in elderly men and the ageing-related symptoms, morbidity and health outcomes are unclear
There is an urgent need for multi-disciplinary observational population studies to document the development of ageing-related changes in health status in elderly men and investigate their relationships with hormonal decline and other potential predisposing risk factors