The European Male Ageing Study

Study design

5th Framework

Study Aims

1) Document geographical variations in the ageing-related involution decline of endocrine function in European men;

2) Explain the variability in the rate of secular decline in endocrine functions on the basis of socio-demographic, lifestyle, co-morbid, ethnic/racial, or genetic factors;

3) Predict the physical and psychological health status of individuals based on the variation in ageing-related endocrine decline and changes in body composition.
Hypotheses
Geographical variability
There is geographical variability within the European Union (EU) in the ageing-related involutional decline of endocrine functions in men, the most important of which being relative testosterone deficiency

Factors
Observed geographical variability in the rate and extent of ageing-related decline in endocrine functions in men can be explained on the basis of socio-demographic, lifestyle, co-morbid, racial/ethnic or genetic factors

Endocrine function
Variability in ageing-related changes in endocrine functions can account for some of the manifest differences in health status of elderly men in Europe in terms of physical and psychological symptoms and disabilities

Symptoms
Elderly men develop characteristic symptoms and functional deficits such as frailty/physical disabilities, fractures, sexual dysfunction, depression and cognitive impairment as a result of the ageing-related decline of endocrine functions

Body Composition
One mechanism by which declining androgens and other anabolic hormones exert their effects on physical health is by altering body composition e.g. decreased bone density and lean body mass

Hormones
Changes in circulating hormone levels and/or body composition can therefore predict the development of clinical symptoms or disabilities such as frailty and fractures associated with ageing