umbilical cordAntenatal exposure to testosterone affects neurological development in the fetus and may play a role in behavior throughout life. Researchers from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research recently published a study in PLoS One on the potential role of testosterone levels of umbilical cord blood and behavior in boys and girls.

Girls (430) and boys (429) were followed for 10 years. Cord blood was retrieved and stored at birth for all participants. Researchers measured testosterone concentrations in cord blood and noted behavioral patterns in children. When cord blood results were compared with behavioral test results, researchers were unable to find a connection between the two. Higher levels of testosterone were measured in male children than female children in all cases. Boys suffered fewer attention problems with higher testosterone levels and girls suffered worse withdrawal symptoms at age five with elevated testosterone, but these results were not consistent across all participants.

Source: Robinson M, Whitehouse AJ, Jacoby P, Mattes E, Sawyer MG, Keelan JA, Hickey M. Umbilical cord blood testosterone and childhood internalizing and externalizing behavior: a prospective study. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59991. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059991. Epub 2013 Apr 1