Manual T/E Ratios and Steroids: The Gray Areas of Athletics

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Relative index finger length as a sex-influenced trait in man. Am J Hum Genet 4 — The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length: a predictor of sperm numbers and concentrations of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and oestrogen. Human Reprod 13 —4. CrossRef Full Text. Manning JT. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press Resolving the role of prenatal sex steroids in the development of digit ratio. Meta-analysis of digit ratio 2D:4D shows greater sex difference in the right hand. Am J Hum Biol 22 — Fetal development of the hand, digits and digit ratio 2D:4D.

Early Hum Dev 82 7 — Sexual dimorphism in the prenatal digit ratio 2D:4D. Arch Sex Behav 39 — The development of sex differences in digital formula from infancy in the Fels Longitudinal Study.

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Proc Roy Sob B — A longitudinal study of digit ratio 2D:4D and other finger ratios in Jamaican children. Horm Behav 49 2 —6. Andrology 1 —9. Fingers as a marker of prenatal androgen exposure. Endocrinology — Early Hum Dev 77 —8. Measurement of the digit lengths and the anogenital distance in mice. Physiol Behav 93 —8. Zheng Z, Cohn MJ. Developmental basis of sexually dimorphic digit ratios.

Environmental levels of oestrogenic and antioestrogenic compounds feminize digit ratios in male rats and their unexposed male progeny. Proc Biol Sci Dean A, Sharpe RM. Anogenital distance or digit length ratio as measures of fetal androgen exposure: relationship to male reproductive development and its disorders. J Clin Endocrin Metab 98 6 —8. Front Endocrin 4 The relationship between anogenital distance and the androgen receptor CAG repeat length.

Asian J Androl 15 —9. Bonobos have a more human-like second to fourth finger length ratio 2D:4D than chimpanzees: a hypothesized indication of lower prenatal androgens. J Hum Evol 56 —5. Sexual dimorphism in digit-length ratios of laboratory mice. Anat Rec 3 —4. Finger and toe ratios in humans and mice: implications for the aetiology of diseases influenced by HOX genes. Med Hypotheses 60 3 —3. Nelson E, Shultz S. Finger length ratios 2D:4D in anthropoids implicate reduced prenatal androgens in social bonding. Am J Phys Anthropol — Testosterone enhancement during pregnancy influences the 2D:4D ratio and open field motor activity of rat siblings in adulthood.

Horm Behav 55 1 —9. Right-left digit ratio 2D:4D predicts free testosterone levels associated with a physical challenge. J Sports Sci 31 — Digit ratio 2D:4D , aggression and testosterone in men exposed to an aggressive video stimulus. Evol Psych 11 — Pubmed Abstract Pubmed Full Text. The Finger Ratio.

London: Faber and Faber The second-to-fourth digit ratio correlates with the rate of academic performance in medical school students. Mol Med Rep 4 3 —6. The second-to-fourth digit ratio correlates with aggressive behaviour in professional soccer players. Mol Med Rep 7 3 —8. Index-to-ring finger length ratio 2D:4D predicts levels of salivary estradiol, but not progesterone, over the menstrual cycle.

Am J Hum Biol 19 3 —6. Second to fourth digit ratio 2D:4D and testosterone in men. Asian J Androl 6 3 —5. Second to fourth digit length ratio 2D:4D and adult sex hormone levels: new data and a meta-analytic review. Psychoneuroendocrinology 32 — Second to fourth digit ratio 2D:4D and concentrations of circulating sex hormones in adulthood.

Reprod Biol Endocrin 9 Folstad I, Karter AJ. Parasites, bright males, and the immunocompetence handicap. Am Nat — Muehlenbein MP, Bribiescas R. Testosterone-mediated immune functions and male life histories. Am J Hum Biol 17 — Elias M. Serum cortisol, testosterone and testosterone binding globulin responses to competitive fighting in human males. Developmental basis of sexually dimorphic digit ratios.

Environmental levels of oestrogenic and antioestrogenic compounds feminize digit ratios in male rats and their unexposed male progeny. Proc Biol Sci Dean A, Sharpe RM. Anogenital distance or digit length ratio as measures of fetal androgen exposure: relationship to male reproductive development and its disorders. J Clin Endocrin Metab 98 6 —8.

Front Endocrin 4 The relationship between anogenital distance and the androgen receptor CAG repeat length. Asian J Androl 15 —9. Bonobos have a more human-like second to fourth finger length ratio 2D:4D than chimpanzees: a hypothesized indication of lower prenatal androgens. J Hum Evol 56 —5. Sexual dimorphism in digit-length ratios of laboratory mice. Anat Rec 3 —4. Finger and toe ratios in humans and mice: implications for the aetiology of diseases influenced by HOX genes. Med Hypotheses 60 3 —3.

Nelson E, Shultz S. Finger length ratios 2D:4D in anthropoids implicate reduced prenatal androgens in social bonding. Am J Phys Anthropol — Testosterone enhancement during pregnancy influences the 2D:4D ratio and open field motor activity of rat siblings in adulthood. Horm Behav 55 1 —9. Right-left digit ratio 2D:4D predicts free testosterone levels associated with a physical challenge.

J Sports Sci 31 — Digit ratio 2D:4D , aggression and testosterone in men exposed to an aggressive video stimulus. Evol Psych 11 — Pubmed Abstract Pubmed Full Text. The Finger Ratio. London: Faber and Faber The second-to-fourth digit ratio correlates with the rate of academic performance in medical school students. Mol Med Rep 4 3 —6. The second-to-fourth digit ratio correlates with aggressive behaviour in professional soccer players.

Mol Med Rep 7 3 —8. Index-to-ring finger length ratio 2D:4D predicts levels of salivary estradiol, but not progesterone, over the menstrual cycle. Am J Hum Biol 19 3 —6. Second to fourth digit ratio 2D:4D and testosterone in men. Asian J Androl 6 3 —5. Second to fourth digit length ratio 2D:4D and adult sex hormone levels: new data and a meta-analytic review.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 32 — Second to fourth digit ratio 2D:4D and concentrations of circulating sex hormones in adulthood. Reprod Biol Endocrin 9 Folstad I, Karter AJ. Parasites, bright males, and the immunocompetence handicap. Am Nat — Muehlenbein MP, Bribiescas R. Testosterone-mediated immune functions and male life histories. Am J Hum Biol 17 — Elias M. Serum cortisol, testosterone and testosterone binding globulin responses to competitive fighting in human males. Aggress Behav 7 3 — Salivary testosterone levels in men at a U. Arch Sex Behav 40 —6. Neave N, Wolfson S.

Physiol Behav 78 2 — Two emerging concepts for elite athletes: the short-term effects of testosterone and cortisol on the neuromuscular system and the dose-response training role of these endogenous hormones. Sports Med 41 — Morning based strength training improves afternoon physical performance in rugby union players. J Sci Med Sport A meta-analysis on 2D:4D and athletic prowess: substantial relationships but neither hand outpredicts the other. Pers Individ Dif 48 :4— Digit ratio 2D:4D and performance in elite rugby players.

J Sports Sci 28 — Sex differences in 2D:4D and aggression in children and adolescents from five regions in Russia. Am J Phys Anthropol —9. Millet K.

Author's new book examines controversial use of steroids in athletics | Penn State University

An interactionist perspective on the relation between 2D:4D and behaviour: an overview of moderated relationships between 2D:4D and economic decision making. Pers Individ Dif 51 — Millet K, Dewitte S. Digit ratio 2D:4D moderates the impact of an aggressive music video on aggression. Pers Individ Dif 43 — Second-to-fourth digit ratio predicts success among high-frequency financial traders. A preliminary investigation of associations between personality, cognitive ability and digit ratio. Pers Individ Dif 33 — Digit ratio 2D:4D and handgrip strength in Hani ethnicity.

Of the eleven current users with. For seven participants a few months had passed since their last AAS cycle, thus compatible with the test observations. One participant reported using low doses of trenbolone that could not be documented and might reflect the use of counterfeit steroids at the time of testing. This test was positive for antiestrogens and there was no reason to doubt his reports of use.

None of the control participants tested positive for steroids, whereas two positive urine tests were found in the previous user group. The positive tests could be due to long detection time of the compounds used. Excluding these only marginally influenced the findings see Figure S1. The frequencies of various steroids found in the urine sample are shown in Figure S2 in the data supplement. Neuroanatomical volumes in each group whole AAS sample are presented in Table 3. Furthermore, neuroanatomical volumes with effects surviving Bonferroni correction, and results when covarying for potential confounders and for different subsamples, are presented in Table 4.

There were no significant differences in ICV between the groups, but ICV was still regressed out from all group comparisons to ensure that this did not influence the results.


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The AAS group had significantly smaller volumes on measures of total gray matter volume,. No group differences were found for hippocampal or amygdala volume Table 3. The findings of smaller total gray matter and cortical volume in the AAS group were marginally influenced by controlling for potential confounders.

Additionally, the effect sizes remained relatively stable across different AAS-subsamples comprising various degrees of exposure to AAS and other drugs of abuse. Importantly, the differences were still significant in subsamples excluding participants with concurrent substance abuse, though the effect sizes were somewhat reduced see Figure S3 in the data supplement.

Figure 2 and Table 5 depict the results from the corrected GLM analyses, comparing differences in cortical thickness between the AAS group and controls. In the main analysis upper panel including all participants, AAS users exhibited significantly thinner cortex bilaterally. Five clusters were found in the left hemisphere and three clusters in the right hemisphere. The largest cluster in the left hemisphere covered part of the inferior and superior parietal lobe as well as lateral and medial occipital regions, and the cuneus.

Other clusters with thinner cortex in the AAS users comprised ranked from largest to smallest superior. The significant clusters in the right hemisphere corresponded to some degree to the clusters of the left hemisphere, but with some exceptions. The three clusters were of similar size and were located in the cuneus, the precentral gyrus and some minor parts of the inferior frontal and superior frontal gyrus, and in temporal areas including the temporal pole, inferior-, medial- and superior temporal gyrus.

Regressing out verbal IQ, drug use, weekly alcohol consumption, symptoms of anxiety and depression, attention problems and ASR total problem scores had marginal influence of the differences in thickness between users and non-users see Figure S4. Exploratory analyses based on refinements of the AAS sample, in order to focus on those with a longer history of AAS use, were suggestive of more widespread effects.

Characteristic findings after longer and more severe exposure were larger clusters in occipital, temporal, parietal and frontal areas, and suggest that group differences after protracted AAS exposure are rather global. Group differences were now also seen in large frontal cortical regions, and in the left cingulate. Similar findings were seen when excluding participants with concurrent substance abuse, particularly for those with more than 10 years of AAS exposure, although some clusters were smaller or did not survive corrections.

Moreover, as the choice of smoothing kernel might influence the findings, the main. Note, that by applying this higher smoothing level, more effects survive FDR correction. Similar clusters were also found when restricting the analysis to current AAS users. For previous users, thinner cortex was seen bilaterally in the precentral gyrus and in the left superior parietal cortex see Figure 2, and Table 5. The effects were more widespread in current users, but statistical power was higher for this group. Finally, the combination of drug abuse with AAS use was associated with more widespread thinning, particularly in the cuneus, superior frontal and orbitofrontal regions of the left hemisphere, and one cluster in the supramarginal gyrus of the right hemisphere Figure S9.

In the first large systematic neuroimaging investigation of AAS users, we found smaller overall gray matter, cortical and putamen volume and thinner cortex in widespread regions in AAS users compared to non-using weightlifters. Generally, stronger effects were seen with an increasing burden of AAS exposure, also in users without any other substance abuse problems. Possible implications of the results are discussed below.

AAS users had smaller overall cortical volume as well as thinner cortex in widespread regions, and this was relatively stable across different subsamples.

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Effects were more widespread after longer use. The effects on cortical thickness and volume could not be explained by concurrent substance abuse, although drug abuse in combination with AAS use was associated with even larger cortical effects than AAS use alone. One previous study has looked at associations between long-term AAS use and brain morphometry, and suggested that chronic AAS use could be associated with enlargement of the right amygdala 12 , consistent with the primary action of steroids acting on AR receptors, highly expressed in the amygdala In the present study we could not replicate the amygdala findings.

Instead, smaller volumes and thinner cortex throughout were seen in the AAS group.

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For brain volumes, the strongest group effects applied to the global measures of cerebral cortex and total gray matter volume. Group differences were also found for putamen, a large structure of the basal ganglia. These effects could reflect an association between long-term AAS exposure and less brain tissue in general rather than with more region specific. In general, stronger effects were observed after prolonged exposure, particularly evident in those who met the requirements for AAS dependence. Within-group analyses also confirmed this, where longer history of AAS exposure was associated with thinner cortex in frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital regions compared to shorter exposure.

To speculate, our findings might indicate that use of AAS is associated with a risk of progressive deterioration of cerebral tissue, particularly evident after prolonged heavy use. It has been shown that supraphysiological doses of testosterone and commonly abused AAS can induce apoptosis on a variety of mammalian cell types, including neurons 17, 18, 20, The mechanisms behind possible AAS-induced neurotoxicity are unclear but Amyloid-beta aggregation and increased susceptibility to oxidative stress have been suggested , Cardiovascular effects are among the most serious adverse effects associated with AAS use 24, , that again have been linked with accelerated brain aging 24, 47, 48 , vascular brain disease 25 , cognitive decline 26 and dementia 26, Thus, another potential mechanism behind our findings could be related to AAS induced cardiovascular effects and associated risks to compromise brain health.

Prolonged AAS use has been associated with a range of psychiatric symptoms and disorders , and recently also with cognitive deficits 10 , and our findings could potentially constitute brain correlates of such deviations.

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However, the nature of such relations are complex not least because it is difficult to distinguish what is due to premorbid psychological characteristics, and what are the direct causes of the AAS use. Our knowledge of adverse health consequences of AAS mainly comes from field studies In addition, for a proportion of users, AAS is used in conjunction with other drugs of abuse , and studies usually do not separate users with more clean AAS use from those with combined AAS and non-AAS substance abuse.

This is of importance not only in order to understand the. Our findings could not be explained by differences in verbal cognitive function verbal intelligence or ICV. Verbal intelligence can be argued, at least to some degree, to reflect premorbid cognitive functions. ICV reflects premorbid brain volume, and the lack of ICV differences between the groups indicates that the volumetric effects seen emerged after the volume of the brain was fully developed.

The fact that the cortical group effects survived controlling for verbal intelligence and ICV may therefore indicate that the AAS exposure itself could be causing the effects on the cerebral cortex. Further, the within group findings of thinner cortex after longer AAS history raise the ominous possibility that the observed group differences are the result of AAS-induced cerebral atrophy.

The underlying mechanisms are not known but could involve direct AAS-induced neurotoxicity or more indirect mechanisms through AAS side effects on the cardiovascular system. However, these are speculations, and the present design does not allow drawing definite conclusions regarding causality beyond the correlational results described.

Important limitations of the study include the use of a cross sectional, retrospective design, which means that we do not know whether differences in brain morphometry also existed prior to AAS initiation. We cannot rule out the influence of genetic effects, or the possibility. Although correlational, our findings of thinner and smaller cortices associated with AAS exposure raise concerns about possible deleterious effects of long-term AAS use on brain health. The cortical effects seemed to persist after stopping AAS use. Understanding the impact of AAS use on brain and its cognitive and psychiatric correlates is important in order to safeguard the needs of the growing numbers of long-term AAS users now entering their middle age.

Large-scale longitudinal, and ideally prospective, studies are warranted in order to address the possible implication of accelerated cerebral atrophy by long-term AAS exposure. All authors have contributed substantially to the present work and have seen and approved the manuscript being submitted.

All authors report no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Role of the Sponsors: The funding organization had no role in the design or conduct of the study; in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data; or in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. Drug and alcohol dependence. Psychotherapy andpsychosomatics.

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