Effects of Dehydroepiandrosterone Supplementation on Cognitive Function and Quality of Life: The DHEA and Well-Ness (DAWN) Trial

Authors

  • Donna Kritz-Silverstein PhD,

    1. Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Denise Von Mühlen MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gail A. Laughlin PhD,

    1. Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ricki Bettencourt MS

    1. Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Donna Kritz-Silverstein, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0631-C, La Jolla, CA 92093-0631. E-mail: dsilverstein@ucsd.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on cognitive function and quality of life in healthy older adults.

DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial.

SETTING: Clinical research facility.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred ten men and 115 women aged 55 to 85 (mean ± standard deviation 68 ± 8).

INTERVENTION: Fifty milligrams daily oral DHEA versus placebo for 1 year.

MEASUREMENTS: Six cognitive function tests at baseline and 12 months, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36), the Life Satisfaction Index-Z, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Female Sexual Function Index (in women), and the 15-item International Index of Erectile Function (in men) at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS: There were no differences between the DHEA and placebo groups in change over time in cognitive function (P>.10). Over time, BDI scores decreased for men (P=.006) and women (P=.02), and Satisfaction with Life Scale scores increased for women (P=.004), but there were no differences between the DHEA and placebo groups over time on these measures or the SF-36, Life Satisfaction Index-Z scale, or sexual function scales (P>.10).

CONCLUSION: DHEA supplementation has no benefit on cognitive performance or well-being in healthy older adults, and it should not be recommended for that purpose in the general population.

Ancillary