Still, I am muddling through the implications of mother and infant estrogen levels influencing the timing of testosterone surges similar to how a teenaged girl’s fat levels influence the timing of her reaching puberty.  I sometimes hear distant melodies of sense, not quite able to figure out the song.

My step-daughter Gwyn contracted juvenile diabetes when she was about 11.  She couldn’t keep fat on, and puberty was delayed.  Finally, she seemed to have achieved enough weight and her first menses arrived.  The whole family went out for supper in celebration.

All that time while she was trying to gain weight, she kept on growing taller.

I sometimes wonder if Gwyn’s effortless intelligence and astonishing facility with language is directly related to her delayed puberty and diabetes.  The brain continues to grow until puberty’s testosterone surges prune that growth.  Might a eunuch have a larger brain than a male with both testicles?  Would a male with one testicle have a larger brain than a male with two?

I had a childhood friend with a single testicle.  It descended only after he was born.  David had several Asperger’s features in his personality and a strangely large head.  He tested brilliant.  He came from a family of brilliant, passionate scholars.  He hated school.  He worked for the Post Office for a while.  I think he ended up in library science.

Relating this to that first pruning of cerebral hemispheres that occurs in early childhood, might we suppose that the fat levels of the mother with a child in the womb and the fat or estrogen levels of her infant and toddler influence the timing of those early testosterone surges, influencing brain size, determining relative sizes of the left and right hemisphere and the character of the corpus callosum brain bridge?

I’m thinking that it would have been nice if Baron-Cohen, while conducting those brilliant tests of thousands of placentas, had also sampled their estrogen levels.  (Baron-Cohen and colleagues discovered that testosterone levels were relatively high for many mothers that later had autistic children.)

Big heads, undescended testicles, Asperger’s personalities, juvenile diabetes, delayed puberty, fat and estrogen levels, testosterone, slim builds, cerebral hemisphere synapse pruning…..all these things seem related.  Listening for the music through the noise.


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