The male sex hormone testosterone may have something to do with how well men perform at math and English, researchers announced Friday.
John Hopkins University studied 11 men with low testosterone levels and found that without hormone treatments, they had trouble remembering shapes but performed 25 percent better on sentence construction tests."What we are trying to understand is whether there is an optimal level of hormone," said Adrian Dobs, senior author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins.
"Nobody is saying, however, that we should be giving testosterone to women who want to be architects, or estrogen to men who want to be politicians."
Testosterone causes boys to go through puberty and is responsible for the adult sex drive. Many men with low levels of the hormone get treatments to counter symptoms including decreased sexual interest, impotence and brittle bones.
The John Hopkins study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and its results presented to the International Congress of Endocrinology's annual meeting in San Francisco.
Little research has been done in the area, although a study of sex-change patients in Holland had similar findings, said James M. Dabbs, a professor of psychology at Georgia State University who studies the role of testosterone.
The Dutch study "looked at changes in some of the verbal skills of people who were getting a lot of testosterone and estrogen and found similar kinds of thing.