Sluckin Lecture 2016

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University




'The Prenatal Sex Steroid Theory of Autism'

Autism affects more males than females.  One candidate biological mechanism for this is prenatal sex steroid hormones. I summarize 4 lines of evidence 




  1. Testing if testosterone, measured in the womb, is associated with autistic traits.
  2. Testing if elevated prenatal sex steroid levels are associated with autism.
  3. Testing if proxies of prenatal sex steroid levels in people with autism are also atypical.
  4. Testing if post-natal sex steroid hormones in autism are elevated.

These studies implicate a specific biological pathway as one important factor in the aetiology of autism. A recent animal model is discussed, and the ethics of translating these findings is considered.


Tuesday 17 May 2016, 5pm – 6pm

Centre for Medicine, LT1,

Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7HA

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