Relationship between sex hormones and cognitive performance in men with substance use

Mihail F. Zilbermint, Amy B. Wisniewski, Xiaoqiang Xu, Ola A. Selnes, Adrian S. Dobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Hypogonadism is common with opiate-like drug use and may contribute to cognitive abnormalities. With the increasing epidemic of HIV and substance use (SU) worldwide, it is important to understand the impact of these conditions on cognition, which may affect quality of life and possibly decrease adherence to treatment. We hypothesized that men with SU, by virtue of hypogonadism secondary to HIV and/or SU, may demonstrate impaired cognition. Methods: We recruited men aged 18-50 from a population of low income, inner-city individuals. Details of HIV and SU status, serum blood levels of total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT) and estradiol (E2) were assessed. All subjects were administered ten neuropsychological tests. Results: Our sample consisted of 68 men (mean age: 43.2 years (SD 5.8), African Americans: 86.6%). The recruited population was primarily from low socioeconomic status and unemployed. The mean level of TT was 553.9. ng/dL (SD 262.0), the mean level of FT was 69.5. pg/mL (SD 34.8), mean E2 was 3.2. pg/mL (SD 4.4). We found that 30.9% were hypogonadal and it was associated with higher SU. We observed some relationships between sex hormones and cognitive domains, however, after adjustment for age, drug use category, education, depression, HIV, there was no statistically significant correlation between cognitive performance and sex hormone levels. Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study of men with a high prevalence of SU and hypogonadism, endogenous levels of TT, FT or E2 were not related to cognitive performance. Other factors need to be identified which may contribute to poor cognitive function in the setting of SU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cognitive function
  • Estradiol
  • Illicit drug users
  • Sex hormones
  • Substance use
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between sex hormones and cognitive performance in men with substance use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this