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Anne Rahilly
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Australian men most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes are urged to join a new study that aims to help them lose weight and prevent diabetes – by giving them more testosterone.

The University of Melbourne along with The University of Adelaide has launched a new $4.8 million study, the first of its kind in the world, to look at the potential benefits of treating men with testosterone supplements in conjunction with a dedicated weight-loss program.

Up to 1500 men aged 50-74 are now being sought for this groundbreaking study in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

"We know that as men get older and gain weight – especially when they become large around the belly – they often suffer from reduced testosterone levels," said the leader of the study, Professor Gary Wittert from the University of Adelaide.

"Lower testosterone has many implications for men's health, such as reduced motivation to exercise and lack of sexual function.  It is also closely associated with type 2 diabetes, which is an enormous health burden for Australia.

"By giving testosterone supplements to men in that critical pre-diabetes stage, and by putting them on a dedicated weight-loss program, we expect to see sustained reductions in weight and a reduced chance to develop type 2 diabetes."

Men who sign up for the study will have free access to the online weight-loss program run by Weight Watchers.  An online program is ideal for men who prefer not to attend Weight Watchers meetings.

The research is being led in Victoria by Associate Professor Mathis Grossmann (University of Melbourne Austin Health) and Dr Carolyn Allan (Monash Medical Centre). Associate Professor Grossmann said the study, which will be conducted over at least two years of the participants' lives, could have a range of other health benefits for those who take part.

"Our hope is that this study will be a life-changing event for many men in Australia,” Associate Professor Grossmann said.

Dr Allan said: "Older men who have developed a large belly and are at risk of diabetes now have an opportunity to do something about their weight, improve their lives, and provide us with all-important research results that could benefit many others in the future."

For more information about the study and to participate, please visit the T4DM (Testosterone 4 the prevention of Diabetes Mellitus) study website: www.t4dm.org.au

This study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).