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Baby Boys’ Late Language Skills Linked to Testosterone
Exposure toِ high levels ofِ testosterone beforeِ birth mayِ increase theِ risk ofِ delays inِ language development forِ boys, a newِ study fromِ Australia suggests.
The findings suggest oneِ reason whyِ boys areِ more susceptible thanِ girls toِ language delay, according toِ theِ researchers.
For manyِ years, theِ possibleِ causesِ of language delay haveِ beenِ a mystery, saidِ lead author Andrew Whitehouse, a psychologist atِ the University ofِ Western Australia.
The findings were published today (Jan.
25) in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Girls develop language skills faster than boys
The pace inِ developing language skills canِ vary greatly fromِ child toِ child, butِ previous research hasِ shown girls generally outpace boys.
One study foundِ that 12 percent ofِ children experience a significant delay inِ language development, andِ that mostِ of themِ areِ male.
But Mabel Rice, a speech pathologist atِ the University ofِ Kansas, saidِ mostِ boys catch upِ toِ girls byِ the time theyِ reach school age.
Boys and girls may process testosterone differently
In theِ newِ study, researchers measured testosterone levels inِ the umbilical cord blood ofِ newborns, thenِ examined theِ children’s language abilities atِ 1, 2 andِ 3 years ofِ age.
Parents alsoِ completed questionnaires aboutِ their children’s development.
Researchers foundِ male infants withِ high levels ofِ testosterone inِ the blood wereِ twoِ toِ threeِ times moreِ likelyِ than girls toِ experience language delays.