– Why are girls better protected from autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and are diagnosed less often than boys from the condition? On average, only one girl is diagnosed with ASD for every four boys. The ratio is even higher in cases of high-functioning autism, with as many as seven boys diagnosed for only one girl. During the recent years, scientists who have been studying sex differences have found that females are better protected from neural development disorders.

– At this stage, scientists don’t clearly know yet why girls have lesser risks to develop autism. One reason may be because they have two X chromosomes while boys only have one. So, for the girls, if one X chromosome is damaged, the other one may serve as backup. Hormones, however, may be another explanation. Females have naturally higher levels of oxytocin than boys, a hormone that could counter-balance the deficit of social skills linked to ASD.



Image: Edmund C. Tarbell – Mother and Child in a Boat / Google Art Project – Wikipedia