The Congressional Public Health Caucus hosted a briefing “Public Health & the Importance of Accurate Hormone Tests” on March 14, 2019 to discuss why we need standardized hormone tests, why these tests are not standardized now, and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing to improve accuracy.
The use of hormone testing in diagnosing, treating and preventing medical conditions is always evolving. Here’s what PATH and others in the clinical, medical and public health communities are doing to achieve a common understanding of hormone measurement and strengthen the accuracy and reliability of hormone testing.
A landmark study defines “normal” for testosterone
To treat men with sexual dysfunction, decreased bone and muscle strength, low energy and fertility problems related to low testosterone, doctors need to know what level of testosterone is considered “normal.”
A study co-authored by PATH Co-Chairs Hubert Vesper and Alvin Matsumoto addressed this challenge. Researchers collected testosterone samples from over 9,000 men who had already had their testosterone levels measured by local doctors. They sent the new samples to the CDC, who used another technique—liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry—to gauge testosterone levels.
Results from both measurements informed the first-ever standardized range for normal testosterone levels in non-obese European and American men age 19-39 years.
“Well-defined reference ranges are at the heart of clinical practice,” said the study’s lead author Shalender Bhasin. “Without them, clinicians can make erroneous diagnoses that could lead to patients receiving costly, lifelong treatments that they don’t need or deny treatments to those who need them.”