Using a cream containing the male sex hormone testosterone, which plays a key role in health and well-being, may help prevent Alzheimer's, a progressive brain disorder.
People suffering with Alzheimer's lack the ability to learn, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. As the disease progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behaviour, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations.
For some sufferers, drugs can delay the progress of symptoms such as memory loss and the erosion of the ability to do everyday things like washing and dressing, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
There is no cure for the disease and no way of preventing its onset.
Ralph Martins and other researchers at the Sir James McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer's Research in Australia used the testosterone cream on otherwise healthy men with testosterone deficiency.
Preliminary results showed that the cream, applied daily for four months, reduced levels of the destructive beta amyloid protein (found in the brain of people suffering from Alzheimer's) by around 60 percent in four men out of five, the researchers told a conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.
Further research will look at the effect of the cream on women - and whether it can help those who have already developed Alzheimer's.
Martins stressed that his research is still at an early stage, but said it could eventually have huge implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's.
Previous research has shown that testosterone-based medication can improve the quality of life in men suffering from Alzheimer's. Rubbing a testosterone gel into the skin increased their energy levels and lifted their mood. However the gel did not appear to improve memory or other mental skills.