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Testosterone levels during early fetal development might program certain behaviors later in life, according to a new study that found high levels of the sex hormone in the womb might boost boys' impulsivity later on.
Researchers studied a group of boys ages 8 to 11 whose fetal testosterone had been measured from amniotic fluid when their mothers were 13-20 weeks pregnant.
Sex hormone levels, which increase during adolescence, are also heightened during critical periods of fetal brain development.
The boys in the study were shown pictures of negative (fearful), positive (happy), neutral, or scrambled faces while a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine tracked changes in their brain activity. In the boys who had higher levels of fetal testosterone, the brain's reward system was more responsive to positive, compared with negative, facial cues, the researchers found.
This suggests those boys have a greater proclivity for "approach-related behaviors," such as fun-seeking and impulsivity.
"This work highlights how testosterone in fetal development acts as a programming mechanism for shaping sensitivity of the brain's reward system later in life and for predicting later tendency to engage in approach-related behaviors," study researcher Michael Lombardo, of the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.
For males, such behaviors are often heightened in teenage years and are found in extremes in many psychiatric conditions, such as substance abuse, autism and even psychopathy, which tend to affect more men than women.
"These insights may be especially relevant to a number of neuropsychiatric conditions with skewed sex ratios and which affect approach-related behavior and the brain's reward system," Lombardo added. (Testosterone is present in low levels in females and the hormone substantially impacts sex differences between men and women.)
The study appears online this month in the journal Biological Psychiatry. John Krystal, editor of the journal, commented, "These remarkable data provide new evidence that hormonal exposures early in life can have lasting impact on brain function and behavior."
I've heard this statistic before and think it's very sad, it does seem like more men do this. If you recall, Xs' brother Y took his life two years ago. This circumstances surrounding his death ( and others I would think) have very little to do with politics and who is president and more to do with mental illness.
Since you look this information up I wonder if you know of any statistics that state more men suffer from mental illness? It doesn't seem like that would be true except for the statistic about suicide you mentioned implies this. If it's true then society needs to do a better job detecting mental illness at the early stages so we can help these boys/men and save their lives.
You are an intelligent, compassionate, appealing young man who has chosen to deny yourself normal friendships or even opportunities for love with women, simply because you are really angry. I don't see how this is enriching your life in any way! I've said it before, women are not your enemy! They would be your friends if you would allow it. If you could see goodness and friendship in any female, they would return the favor, but you absolutely don't allow it. I have witnessed it myself, the looks of rage when you see women laughing together, or even when male/female couples seem enjoying themselves in restaurants, or similar places, you seem desperate to leave that environment. I don't get it.
I know you will have a sharp answer to everything that I've written, but my heart aches for the rejection I think you feel and have made a mission to return in kind. I do not think it is the way to peace or happiness. Nonetheless, I still love you and hope you are doing well with your education.