Current Hormones Project
The ARC has conducted a unique series of studies into the role of fetal testosterone in autism spectrum conditions. This prompted the investigation into whether current hormone levels might also be atypical in autism and Asperger Syndrome. This study has tested the sex steroids (e.g., free testosterone, oestrogen, androstendione, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), luteinizing hormone (LH), oestradial, progesterone) in blood serum samples from men and women with and without Asperger Syndrome. Analysis involved ELIZAs as well as mass spectrometry. This study was in part stimulated by the survey of tesosterone-related medical conditions we completed, which found that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and some androgen-related tumours were more common in women with Asperger Syndrome, and their mothers. A recent finding is elevated levels of the testosterone precursor androstenedione in adults with AS. Dr Liliana Ruta is also leading a collaboration with Catania Hospital in Sicily into pubertal development in autism.