A potential explanation of some established major risk factors for autism


Dr William H James at The Galton Laboratory, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, UK. E-mail: whjames@waitrose.com


Baron–Cohen hypothesized that a cause of autism in infants is exposure to high concentrations of intrauterine testosterone concentrations. Some of the subsequent research on this hypothesis has focused on the possibility that the source of this testosterone is the fetus; however, this review shows that if the source is taken to be the mother, then many of the established risk factors for autism could be explained. If that were correct, it would follow that high maternally derived intrauterine androgen concentrations may be a major environmental cause of autism.