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April 2015

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T4DM study participant Bob Beggs with nurse Jenny Healy. (Picture: Dennis Manktelow, courtesy of Leader Newspapers)

Participants reap the benefits of diabetes study

Cobram man Bob Beggs has not looked back since enrolling in the T4DM (testosterone for the prevention of diabetes mellitus) study.

And Mr Beggs has shed 10 kilograms since starting the nationwide trial through Austin Health’s men’s health clinic 12 months ago.

The $4 million National Health and Medical Research Council-funded study investigates whether testosterone treatment combined with lifestyle changes can prevent type two diabetes in men who have ‘prediabetes’ and low testosterone.

Before people develop type two diabetes, they almost always have ‘prediabetes’ which means blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes.

Mr Beggs’ motivation was sparked when he needed to lose weight before he could have a hip replacement.

‘It was suggested I take part as everyone gets two years free membership with Weight Watchers.

‘It seemed like a pretty good deal to me and it’s working – I’m losing weight,’ Mr Beggs said.

Head of Austin Health’s men’s health clinic Dr Mathis Grossmann said the trial tested if increasing testosterone levels in men aged between 50 and 74 resulted in fat loss, muscle gain and prevented type two diabetes.

Participants are given either testosterone or a placebo throughout the study with neither the participant nor the medical staff aware of what the patient receives.

Dr Grossmann said many people wrongly believed that males only needed testosterone to grow from boys into men but, in fact, testosterone was essential for a whole lifetime.

‘Just as women go through menopause which affects their oestrogen levels, men lose testosterone as they age,’ Dr Grossmann said.

‘It’s more of a gradual drop for men.

‘So as you get older, as a man, you tend to gain fat and drop muscle and sexual desire drops,’ Dr Grossmann said.

More than 300 men have enrolled in the study but researchers need a total of 2,500 participants.

Dr Grossmann said even if men were part of the placebo group they would benefit from the free Weight Watchers memberships which aim to create a healthier lifestyle for participants.

To be eligible men must be overweight, aged between 50 and 74, have a waistline of 95 centimetres or more and not have diabetes.

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