Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate and dementia

G. Ravaglia, P. Forti, F. Maioli, F. Boschi, D. De Ronchi, M. Bernardi, L. Pratelli, A. Pizzoferrato, G. Cavalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Animal and human studies suggest that the adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) may be related to cognitive function. Aim of this study was to explore the relationships between circulating serum levels of DHEAS and cognitive function in a sample of over 90-year-olds. Thirty-four subjects (7 males, 27 females) aged 91-104 years were recruited in long-stay elderly facilities or at home in Bologna. Each subject received a semi-structured interview assessing medical history in order to exclude as much as possible the influence of medical conditions, pharmacological treatments and nutritional status on DHEAS levels. The diagnosis of dementia was made for 18 subjects according to the guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association. No differences were found between DHEAS concentrations of demented and non-demented subjects (sex- and age-adjusted ANOVA F = 2.003, p = 0.168). No significant correlations were found between DHEAS and a number or cognitive testing scores, when adjusting for sex and age. In conclusion, our data do not suggest a causal role of DHEAS in senile dementia. The low DHEAS levels observed by some authors in patients with organic brain syndromes could be an artifact deriving from infectious or debilitating conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-426
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS)
  • Dementia
  • Oldest-olds
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)

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    Ravaglia, G., Forti, P., Maioli, F., Boschi, F., De Ronchi, D., Bernardi, M., Pratelli, L., Pizzoferrato, A., & Cavalli, G. (1998). Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate and dementia. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 27(SUPPL. 6), 423-426.