Testosterone miscellany

Some trivia, apropos of nothing in particular. I've formed no strong opinion on the validity of the individual claims below, but these excerpts do reinforce for me the following:

(1) Androgens aren't all the same.
(2) Androgens don't make you dumb.
(3) Androgens don't make you criminal or anti-social (at least, they don't make you economically unsuccessful, on average).

Rushton's notion of "testosterone" as a "master switch" that neatly explains various racial differences has never been well-supported by the evidence. Despite this, the idea (which Rushton himself proposed only as a possibility) has been lapped up and internalized as perfectly obvious fact by untold numbers of "hbd" types and racialists.

If a hairy man becomes insatiably curious about what it means to have all that hair, he may well run across the work of Dr AG Alias. (Yes, that is his name.) Alias is an expert on certain aspects and implications of the hairiness of men. He has taken a special interest in hairy military leaders, hairy intelligentsia, low-ranked hairy boxers, and Marlon Brando. Last year he wrote this shorthand version of his views:

"I am fairly certain that the vast majority of hairy/hirsute men, compared to the respective 'much less' hirsute men of the same race and ethnic group, are strikingly more intelligent and/or educated, but only from a statistical point of view."

Male hairiness enjoys a complex and often unclear relationship with intelligence and behaviour. Alias, based at the Chester Mental Health Centre, in Chester, Illinois, has tried to tease out a few of the many subtleties. His reports have been published in Biological Psychiatry, Medical Hypotheses, Schizophrenia Research, and other medical journals that do not fear hairy questions.

Alias attracted attention in 1996 when he presented a paper called A Statistical Association Between Liberal Body Hair Growth and Intelligence to the Eighth Congress of the Association of European Psychiatrists, in London. He reported that hairiness is common among successful male academics, engineers, and physicians - and also among the men who join Mensa.

This was just a year after Alias had published a paper titled Top Ranked Boxers Are Less Hirsute Than Lower Level Boxers. In it, he discusses mesomorphs - big-boned, muscular men. Dr Alias carefully analysed 380 drawings in William Sheldon's book Atlas of Men. This was to gain a general understanding of whether big brutes have lots of body hair.

Alias then carefully examined Harry Mullen's tome Great Book Of Boxing, in which "body hair-revealing pictures are printed of 49 top-ranked, white heavyweight boxers, 15 of whom became world champions". Alias concluded that, as a rule, champions were less hairy than non-champions. However, he cautions that the difference is not statistically significant.
[Marc Abrahams; Hirsute pursuits; guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 28 September 2004 02.17 BST ; link]

[A . Alias. Top ranked boxers are less hirsute than lower level boxers: An example for the importance of 5?-reductase?. Biological Psychiatry , Volume 37 , Issue 9 , Pages 612 - 613. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0006-3223(95)94485-F]

Higher body hair with lower mesmorphism ratings were observed in Caucasian homosexual men compared with the general male population, reflecting elevated 5alpha-reductase (5alphaR) activity, and higher dihydrotestosterone-to-testosterone (DHT-to-T) ratio, in sharp contrast to 46,XY 5alphaR 2 deficiency subjects, who are often born with ambiguous, or female genitalia, but tend to grow up to be muscular, heterosexual men with very little body hair, or beard. One study also showed them scoring around dull normal IQs. A greater prevalence of liberal body hair growth in men with higher IQs and/or educational levels was also observed in several samples. The exceptions to this statistical trend are too unsettling, however. Nevertheless, the results of a number of published studies, including one showing higher DHT-to-T ratio in homosexual men, done with different objectives over a span of 80 years, together strongly support these findings. Furthermore, in an animal model, "cognitive-enhancing effects" of "5alpha-reduced androgen [metabolites]" were recently demonstrated.
[Alias AG. A role for 5alpha-reductase activity in the development of male homosexuality? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1032:237-44. link]

According to Erik at femininebeauty.info, a plot of mesomorphism ratings vs. body hair ratings for male Caucasian samples from Sheldon shows: "Starting from an effeminate physical build, as the physique becomes naturally more masculine, body hairiness increases, which appears intuitive, but beyond a certain point, greater body hairiness corresponds to a weaker physical build."
Objective: To document the relative importance of endogenous sex steroids in modulating the frequency of orgasms, the dominant aspect of sexual behaviour in healthy eugonadal men.
Design: Measurement of adrenal and testicular sex steroids in a sample of army recruits and study of their relation to frequency of orgasms ascertained by questionnaire after potential confounding variables were controlled for.
Setting: Military campus and military hospital laboratories in Athens, Greece.
Subjects: 92 consecutively enrolled healthy male recruits aged 18-22 years.
Main outcome measures: Weekly number of orgasms. Serum concentrations of testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, dihydrotestosterone, oestradiol, oestrone, {delta}-4-androstenedione, and sex hormone binding globulin.
Results: Serum dihydrotestosterone concentration was the only independent hormonal predictor of the frequency of orgasms; an increase in concentration of 1.36 nmol/l (about 2 SD) corresponded to an average increase of one orgasm a week.
Conclusions: Differences in concentrations of circulating dihydrotestosterone within the normal range may represent a major predictor of sexual activity in healthy young men.
[BMJ 1995;310:1289-1291 (20 May); Contribution of dihydrotestosterone to male sexual behaviour; Mantzoros, CS and Dimitrios Trichopoulos; link]

Associational loosening, slow and faulty information processing, poor gating of irrelevant stimuli, poor ability to shift attention, poor working memory, passivity, ambivalence, anhedonia, and impaired motor coordination are cardinal features of schizophrenia but, unlike delusions and hallucinations, they are related more to negative/deficit symptoms. As summarized by Bass, numerous studies have correlated leadership with 'ambition, initiative and persistence' (opposite of passivity), 'speed and accuracy of thought', 'finality of decision,' or decisiveness (the opposite of ambivalence), 'mood control, optimism and sense of humor' (opposite of anhedonia), etc. Andreasen et al postulate that a disruption in the circuitry among nodes located in the prefrontal regions, the thalamic nuclei, and the cerebellum produces 'cognitive dysmetria', meaning difficulty in prioritizing, coordinating, and responding to information, and that it can account for the broad diversity of symptoms of schizophrenia. A relationship between cognitive processes and cerebellar and basal ganglia functions, and a role of neocerebellum in rapidly shifting attention, have been demonstrated. The cognitive styles, including a proficiency to quickly shift attention, of several famous leaders are used as examples of this contrasting model. Julius Caesar and Napoleon, for instance, could dictate to up to six secretaries simultaneously, using their exceptional working memories, and proficiency in quickly and effortlessly shifting attention while flawlessly gating irrelevant external and internal stimuli. It is suggested that specific brain imaging studies could illustrate this contrast. Gray et al noted positive correlations between 'dominance', an important leadership trait, and serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone (T), but not of more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT), in over 1700 older men. Though not scientifically rigorous, the author noted positive correlations (P = 0.0162) between the self-rated ratings of voice depth (promoted by T) and of leadership, but none between those of body hair (DHT dependent) and of leadership in 47 male US National Academy of Sciences members. And 43 male US Senators had deeper voices than 36 male House members (P<0.01) who, in turn, had deeper voices than either of two groups (numbers 102 and 72) of male scientists (P<0.01). Therapeutically, before chlorpromazine, DHEA had been used in young schizophrenics with modest success in improving deficit symptoms. DHEA, or other sex hormones, or some of their natural and synthetic derivatives may prove to be valuable to treat deficit symptoms of schizophrenia in both sexes. Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd. [Alias AG. Schizotypy and leadership: a contrasting model for deficit symptoms, and a possible therapeutic role for sex hormones. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Apr;54(4):537-52. link]

Controlling for other variables, age and BMI were associated with lower bioavailable testosterone levels, whereas PCS12, smoking status, and higher SES were associated with higher bioavailable testosterone levels. [Table 2 shows SES (socioeconomic status) correlates 0.12 with bioavailable testostorone, 0.14 with DHEAS, and 0.00 with DHT.]
[Litman HJ et al. Serum androgen levels in black, Hispanic, and white men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Nov;91(11):4326-34. Epub 2006 Aug 15. link]

The result reported in the final study above is opposite the (small) negative correlation between T and SES claimed by Mazur, but Mazur's comments still apply:
The reliable association of high T with antisocial behaviors, including marital disruption and violent criminality, raises an interesting puzzle. These negative behaviors foster downward social mobility. Under the basal model, which assumes T level to be a persistent trait, we should expect an accumulation of high T men in the lower ranks of society. Indeed, as we have noted, correlations between T and various measures of socioeconomic status (occupation, income, education) are significantly negative. But they are slight in magnitude. Thus, leaving aside honor subcultures, we find little concentration of men with high T in the lower classes. Why not? One possibility is that the downward flow of high T men who are antisocial is nearly balanced by an upward flow of high T men who are prosocial. This hypothetical stream of prosocial high-T men remains invisible to us, so far, perhaps because past studies have used as subjects mostly working class men or convicts, who have limited opportunities for legitimate advancement.

The nearly uniform distribution of T across social classes is less puzzling under the reciprocal model, which regards T as malleable rather than a stable personality trait. Again excepting honor subcultures, where challenges are exceptionally common, dominance contests probably occur nearly as frequently among elites as in the working class, as often in the boardroom as on the shop floor. Therefore, T responses to challenge, and to winning and losing, should be distributed fairly evenly across classes. Under this reciprocal model, we would expect little accumulation of T at the bottom levels of society.


Anonymous said...

Finger size link to earning power
This is in line with John Manning's theories.

The relation between hair growth and levels of sex hormones in serum and saliva was investigated in 256 !Kung San and Kavango men (ages 18 to 39 years) from Namibia/Southern Africa. Serum concentrations of total testosterone (Tser), 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and estradiol (E2) as well as the level of bioavailable non-SHBG-bound testosterone in the saliva (Tsal) were determined by radioimmunoassay. The distribution and density of scalp and facial hair as well as the development of terminal hair on the chest, abdomen, pubic area, arms, fingers, and legs were categorized using objective criteria.Covariance analyses revealed marked differences in the distribution of body hair in the San and the Negro sample. This is partly explained by a significant influence of androgen and estrogen levels on the growth of terminal hair. DHT and the ratio DHT/Tser are significantly positively related to midphalangeal hair growth and negatively to pubic hair development. Tsal, the bioavailable fraction of total testosterone, exerts a weak positive influence on the degree of arm and leg hair growth; the most significant positive effect on the growth of abdominal, arm, and leg hair in our samples is caused by E2. The ratio Tser/E2 correlates significantly negatively with the arm and leg hair development and the ratio DHT/E2 with the degree of abdominal, pubic, arm, and leg hair, whereas lower DHT concentrations occur in men with stronger hair development. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Baldness and body hair are both associated with DHT
two genetic variants in Caucasians that together produce an astounding sevenfold increase the risk of male pattern baldness.

Androgen levels and aggression

Anonymous said...

Steroid Hormones during Puberty: Racial (Black-White) Differences in Androstenedione and Estradiol-The Bogalusa Heart Study
A large biracial cross-section of 1038 healthy children aged 6-18 yr with 519 blacks, 519 whites, 678 males, and 360 females was evaluated for Tanner stage and serum levels of androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone- sulfate, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. The anthropometric values of the blacks and whites were very similar at each Tanner stage with only minor differences in age, height, and weight related to an earlier onset of puberty in blacks. The hormones dehydroepiandrosterone- sulfate, progesterone, and testosterone did not exhibit any racial differences. Estradiol showed a significantly higher level among black males compared to white males (P 5 0.05) whereas androstenedione was significantly higher in both white males (P = 0.0001) and females (P I 0.01) compared with blacks. Many hormones are known to effect insulin resistance and others have reported a correlation between insulin levels and androstenedione. Blacks suffer disproportionately from diabetes. Since puberty is a time of dramatic changes in insulin resistance, racial (black-white) differences in steroid hormone changes were explored. This study shows that a racial difference in androstenedione levels exist during puberty, at a time when racial differences in insulin resistance are becoming manifest. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 75: 624-631,1992)