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Associations Between the 2nd to 4th Digit Ratio and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Population-Based Samples of Boys and Girls: Findings from the Study to Explore Early Development

The ratio of the index (2nd) finger to ring (4th) finger lengths (2D:4D) is a proxy for fetal testosterone and estradiol. Studies suggesting 2D:4D is inversely associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in males were limited by lack of confounder and subgroup assessments. Studies of females are sparse. We examined associations between ASD and 2D:4D among children in the Study to Explore Early Development; we considered case subgroups and numerous potential demographic and maternal-perinatal health confounders. We observed a modest inverse association between ASD and right-hand 2D:4D in males; subgroup analyses indicated associations were limited to ASD cases with birth defects/genetic syndromes or dysmorphic features. We observed a positive association between ASD and left-hand 2D:4D in females, overall and within most case subgroups.

Authors: Schieve LA; Tian L; Dowling N; Croen L; Hoover-Fong J; Alexander A; Shapira SK

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 07;48(7):2379-2395.

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