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Caster Semenya: Olympic 800m champion loses appeal against IAAF testosterone rules
Improve clinical practice through informed, confident decisions Clinical care teams and medical students need to be armed with evidence-based answers for all cases, across all specialities. The work does not directly address whether high levels of prenatal testosterone cause autism or lack of empathy.
That would require directly sampling the hormone in utero, which can endanger a developing fetus. The extreme male brain hypothesis was first proposed by psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. In , he and colleagues found that women given a single hefty dose of testosterone fared significantly worse at the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test RMET , which asked them to gauge the emotional states of others based on their facial expressions.
Doing well on the gel: Declining testosterone levels on treatment pose challenge
Men—and people with autism—tend to have a longer ring finger than index finger, and some researchers believe that is due to higher prenatal exposure to testosterone. Others are skeptical.
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But as the theory caught on in psychology circles, few seemed to notice that the small follow-up studies that other researchers attempted failed to replicate the original findings, says Amos Nadler, a neuro-economist and visiting scholar at the University of Toronto in Canada. Nadler and colleagues decided to run a much larger study.
They also focused on men rather than women, partly because men are disproportionately affected by autism. After measuring the baseline testosterone levels of volunteers, the team gave each man the first half of the RMET.
So it is very high. But it is not as clearcut as that.
Caster Semenya is ‘unquestionably a woman’, say her lawyers
Regardless of what happens, the question remains: if we accept that there should be separate categories for men and women in elite sport, can it be done in a manner that satisfies everybody? That is a big claim — and, if correct, would have enormous consequences for sport. Meanwhile others are asking whether a third category in sport might be a solution. I am not sure it is that easy, but it is certainly food for thought — and not just for the lawyers at Cas.
Topics Caster Semenya Sportblog.