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Christian Montag, Benjamin Bleek, Svenja Breuer, Holger Prüss, Kirsten Richardt, Susanne Cook, J. S Yaruss, and Martin Reuter (2015)

Prenatal testosterone and stuttering

Early Human Development, 91(1):43--46.

Background: The prevalence of stuttering ismuch higher inmales compared to females. The biological underpin- nings of this skewed sex-ratio is poorly understood, but it has often been speculated that sex hormones could play an important role. Aims: The present study investigated a potential link between prenatal testosterone and stuttering. Here, an in- direct indicator ofprenatal testosterone levels, the Digit Ratio (2D:4D) ofthe hand, was used. As numerous stud- ies have shown, hands with more “male” characteristics (putatively representing greater prenatal testosterone levels) are characterized by a longer ring finger compared to the index finger (represented as a lower 2D:4D ratio) in the general population. Study design, subjects, outcome measures: We searched for differences in the 2D:4D ratios between 38 persons who stutter and 36 persons who do not stutter. In a second step, we investigated potential links between the 2D:4D ratio and the multifaceted symptomatology of stuttering, as measured by the Overall Assessment of the Speaker's Experience of Stuttering (OASES), in a larger sample of 44 adults who stutter. Results: In the first step, no significant differences in the 2D:4D were observed between individuals who stutter and individuals who do not stutter. In the second step, 2D:4D correlated negatively with higher scores of the OASES (representing higher negative experiences due to stuttering), and this effect was more pronounced for fe- male persons who stutter. Conclusions: The findings indicate for the first time that prenatal testosterone may influence individual differ- ences in psychosocial impact of this speech disorder.

2D:4D ratio, Case control, OASES, Prenatal testosterone, Stuttering
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