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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2014;26(1):79-84. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2012-0116.

Hyperandrogenemia in male autistic children and adolescents: relation to disease severity.



It has been suggested that autistic patients have elevated blood androgens, and although signs of precocious puberty have been reported in autistic patients, such a relation has not yet been clarified.


To assess serum androgen levels in a group of Egyptian male autistic children and adolescents and their relation to disease severity. In addition, the risk for association of androgens with autism was estimated.


In comparison to 20 controls, 30 male autistic children were studied. All subjects were subjected to clinical evaluation, intelligence quotient (IQ) assessment and measurement of serum free testosterone (FT), dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and Δ4-androstenedione (Δ4-A).


Androgens were higher in autistic patients than in controls and increased with increased autistic severity. Of the patients, 11 (36.66%) had high FT, 9 (30%) had high DHEA, 12 (40%) had high Δ4-A and 8 (26.66%) showed elevation of all androgen levels.


38.45, 95% CI: 2.14-688.93, p=0.013) and Δ4-A (OR: 13.6, 95%CI: 2.25-22.89, p=0.04) had a significant risk for association with autism.


Hyperandrogenemia is prevalent in autistic patients and increases with autistic severity. Thus, androgen levels should be assessed in autistic patients with signs of early puberty. Further studies are warranted regarding trials of anti-androgen therapy in such patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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