Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Testosterone In Womb Linked To Autism

Date:
September 13, 2007
Source:
British Association For The Advancement Of Science
Summary:
Fetuses that produce high levels of testosterone have more autistic traits during development, according to new research. Scientists found a significant link between amniotic testosterone levels and the number of autistic traits in children. The researchers are following the development of children from 235 mothers, whose prenatal levels of testosterone were determined by amniocentesis.

Foetuses that produce high levels of testosterone have more autistic traits during development, said Professor Baron-Cohen from the University of Cambridge at the BA Festival of Science on September 11, 2007.

Related Articles


Current research by Baron-Cohen and Bonnie Auyeung at the same university shows a significant link between amniotic testosterone levels and the number of autistic traits in children. Baron-Cohen is following the development of children from 235 mothers, whose prenatal levels of testosterone were determined by amniocentesis.

So far, the children have been observed at 4 stages in their development: 12, 18, 46 and 96 months.

A difference between the children was observed as early as one year old.

The typical autistic traits observed in the children with high amniotic testosterone levels included poor empathy and social skills, and good pattern recognition and numerical reasoning.

The babies with higher testosterone levels were less likely to look at their mother’s face during playtime. Once they reached eighteen months, high-testosterone babies performed badly in vocabulary tests and were able to recognise fewer words.

At 8 years old, the children with high testosterone levels performed well in pattern recognition tests and badly in empathy tests.

The causes of elevated foetal testosterone levels are not known. There is not thought to be a link between foetal and maternal testosterone levels. Smoking and alcohol have been discounted as possible causes.

A genetic and/or environmental factor may be to blame. Twin studies have shown similar testosterone levels in identical twins, giving weight to the genetic argument.

In cases of non-identical twins, with one male and one female twin, which share the same amniotic sac, the female twin has higher testosterone levels than normal.

The Medical Research Council is funding an expansion of Professor Baron-Cohen’s study to include diagnosed autistic children. Baron-Cohen will collaborate with Denmark to match their register of autistic patients against its biobank of amniotic samples.

In future, it may be possible to select foetuses based on testosterone levels. This would raise the question of whether it is right to select children on the basis of extreme ‘maleness’ characteristics.

It is well known that men have higher foetal testosterone levels than women. Testosterone has been linked to the typical male characteristic of good problem solving.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Association For The Advancement Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Testosterone In Womb Linked To Autism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912160304.htm>.
British Association For The Advancement Of Science. (2007, September 13). Testosterone In Womb Linked To Autism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912160304.htm
British Association For The Advancement Of Science. "Testosterone In Womb Linked To Autism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912160304.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins