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It’s a hugely profitable business. Helping guys to “T it up” has been making a few people very, very rich as an aging male population looks for quick and easy ways to preserve their youth and virility – despite compelling evidence that taking such supplements unnecessarily can greatly increase the chances of stroke and heart attack.

Already, professional sports regulators in two states have banned the use of testosterone, and studies have been published demonstrating the risks of testosterone replacement therapy among men who have no real medical need. Consumer advocate groups have asked the FDA to place “black box” warnings on packages of testosterone, and in increasing number of legal actions are being filed against the manufacturers of these supplements. In one recent lawsuit, filed in the Madison County (Illinois) Circuit Court, the plaintiff alleges that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) was responsible for his prostate cancer.

Now, there is some push-back – but surprisingly, it’s not from the manufacturers. Instead, it is a group of physicians and researchers who have called for the retraction of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, conducted by one Dr. Michael Ho, who works at a V.A. Hospital in Colorado, first appeared last November. The study found that TRT “…associated with a greater risk of death, heart attack, and stroke.”  The primary critic of the study, Dr. Abraham Morgentaler of Harvard Medical School, who says that some patients who should have been included in the study were excluded, and that 10% of those studied were female (in fact, there is some evidence that small doses of testosterone can help women during menopause, helping them to maintain libido and deal with some of the symptoms associated with the changes).

Dr. Ho stands by the results of the study. He tells the Wall Street Journal that the original publication misclassified “…reasons why patients were excluded,” but such exclusion “does not alter the study results.”

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