Supraphysiologic-dose anabolic-androgenic steroid use: a risk factor for dementia?

Supraphysiologic-dose anabolic-androgenic steroid use : a risk factor for dementia? / Marc J. Kaufman, Gen Kanayam, James I. Hudson, Harrison G. Pope. - (Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (2019) 25 February) p. 30951-30955).

  • PMID: 30817935.
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.02.014


Supraphysiologic-dose anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use is associated with physiologic, cognitive, and brain abnormalities similar to those found in people at risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease and its related dementias (AD/ADRD), which are associated with high brain β-amyloid (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated tau (tau-P) protein levels. Supraphysiologic-dose AAS induces androgen abnormalities and excess oxidative stress, which have been linked to increased and decreased expression or activity of proteins that synthesize and eliminate, respectively, Aβ and tau-P. Aβ and tau-P accumulation may begin soon after initiating supraphysiologic-dose AAS use, which typically occurs in the early 20s, and their accumulation may be accelerated by other psychoactive substance use, which is common among non-medical AAS users. Accordingly, the widespread use of supraphysiologic-dose AAS may increase the numbers of people who develop dementia. Early diagnosis and correction of sex-steroid level abnormalities and excess oxidative stress could attenuate risk for developing AD/ADRD in supraphysiologic-dose AAS users, in people with other substance use disorders, and in people with low sex-steroid levels or excess oxidative stress associated with aging.


25 February 2019
Hudson, James I.
Kanayama, Gen
Kaufman, M.J.
Pope, Harrison G. Jr.
United States of America
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Harvard Medical School (HMS)
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6 February 2019
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2 December 2021
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