After giving 16 women a small dose of testosterone, British and Dutch researchers found they were less able to judge the mood of facial expressions they were shown, according to the BBC. Scientists say this supports the idea that exposure to the hormone during brain development in the womb leads to autism.
The researchers say the study "contributes to our knowledge of how small hormonal differences can have far-reaching effects on the mind," but others caution that the autism link is just a theory. Richard Mills, of Britain's National Autistic Society, responded:
This is an important piece of research from a reputable team, but it's not a defining moment, and what concerns us is that there are people who will seek to make capital out of this. We have heard of one group in the U.S. who are using the testosterone theory to justify 'treating' children with what is effectively chemical castration, which is plainly wrong.
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