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Gender difference and correlation between sexuality, thyroid hormones, cognitive, and physical functions in elderly fit

  • Emerenziani, G. P.1
  • Izzo, G.1
  • Vaccaro, M. G.2, 3
  • Quattrone, A.3, 4
  • Lenzi, A.5
  • Aversa, A.1
  • 1 “Magna Græcia” University, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Catanzaro, Italy , Catanzaro (Italy)
  • 2 Institute of Neurology Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, “Magna Græcia” University, Catanzaro, Italy , Catanzaro (Italy)
  • 3 “Magna Graecia” University, Neuroscience Centre, Catanzaro, Italy , Catanzaro (Italy)
  • 4 Institute of Molecolar Bioimaging and Physiology, National Reserch Council, Neuroimaging Research Unit, Catanzaro, Italy , Catanzaro (Italy)
  • 5 “Sapienza” University, Department of Experimental Medicine, Rome, Italy , Rome (Italy)
Published Article
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation
Publication Date
Nov 07, 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s40618-018-0974-1
Springer Nature


PurposeSexuality in the elderly is related to psycho-physical well-being. Aim of this study was to analyze the correlation between sexual health, thyroid hormones, cognitive functions, and physical fitness in elderly population.MethodsFifty-one fit adults were recruited (age: 71.9 ± 5.3 years, 26 females and 25 males). Sexuality was evaluated using the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire-short form (CSFQ-14) and the Sexual Attitude Scale (SAS). Thyroid function was assessed by measuring serum TSH, FT3, and FT4. Cognitive functions and depressive symptoms were evaluated by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) test and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) scores. Subjects’ physical fitness was evaluated using the following tests: Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), Handgrip test (HG), Timed Up and Go test (TUG), and 2-Minute step test (ST).ResultsCSFQ-14 positively correlated with MMSE (p < 0.05) and negatively with GDS (p < 0.05), while thyroid function was not correlated with sexuality, in both genders. A negative relationship between FT4 vs. weight, FT3 vs. HG and FT3/FT4 ratio vs. ST were found (p = 0.05) in females, while in males, it occurred for TSH vs. TUG (p < 0.05); a positive relationship existed in females between FT4 vs. ST (p < 0.05). Finally, CSFQ-14 was significantly correlated with SPPB (p < 0.05), CST, TUG, and ST (p < 0.01), in both genders.ConclusionWe demonstrated a strict relationship between active sexuality, preserved cognitive function and appropriate physical fitness in elderly subjects, independently from gender. Our preliminary data suggest that in elderly fit population, peripheral thyroxin deiodination may be a useful predictor of better physical performance and more successful aging.

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