How do Sex Hormones Influence Autism Risk?
[Source: Medical News Today]
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term encompassing the neurodevelopmental disorders autism, Asperger’s syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder, among others. These disorders are usually characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and restricted or repetitive behavior.
Research has shown that there are three boys with autism for every girl with the condition, and 10 boys with Asperger’s syndrome for every girl with Asperger’s. These ratios have led researchers to suspect that sex hormones – such as high levels of testosterone – may play a part in influencing the disorder.
In 2004, researchers from Cambridge University, UK, analyzed testosterone levels in the wombs of 70 pregnant women. After the women’s children had reached the age of 4 years, their parents were asked to complete a checklist designed to pick up any behavioral or social difficulties associated with autism in their children.
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