Boys vs. Girls: Australia Autism Study

Photo by: Ken Wilcox/Flickr

Much like a schoolyard of youngsters, autism researchers are beginning to identify the differences between boys and girls with autism. By analyzing the effects that high levels of testosterone have on 78 girls, scientists may have uncovered ‘sexism’ in autism.

In a study published this month in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Australia found that exceptionally high levels of the male hormone testosterone in girls deprived them of both “positive female qualities” such as social awareness and empathy as well as “positive male qualities such as power-solving abilities. Both deficiencies are hallmark signs of autism.

Andrew Whitehouse, a research fellow at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth commented, that the girls in the research, ”showed the tendency towards social difficulties. They talked too much or talked too little.”

The evidence was based on testosterone levels in the umbilical cord blood previously stored when born. This however, does not integrate other hormones and chemicals that may develop mid-pregnancy. Because the stage is imperative in brain development, the study will open more doors for hormone and drug use in pregnancy.

For more information on this story, please check back. The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4Autism) will continue to post on this topic, as new details are received. Official link to autism news website: www.icare4autism.org

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