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Correlations Between Auditory Measures and Gender In DSD

Saturday, October 20, 2012
Grand Ballroom A/B (Hilton Riverside)
Amy B. Wisniewski, Ph.D.1, Shelagh Edmundson2, Blas Espinoza, PhD2, Ed Pasanen3, Craig Champlin4 and Dennis McFadden3, (1)Pediatric Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, (2)Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, (3)Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, (4)Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Texas, Austin, TX

Correlations between Auditory Measures and Gender in DSD

Purpose .  Disorders of sex development, or DSD, are a group of congenital conditions in which affected individuals experience discordance between their genetic, gonadal, and/or phenotypic sex (Hughes et al., 2006).  Depending on the type of DSD, up to 25% of people reject their female sex of rearing, perhaps as a result of androgen exposure to the central nervous system.  Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) are measures of the cochlea and auditory cortex, respectively that are sensitive to prenatal androgen exposure.  The purpose of this study was to determine if patterns of OAEs and AEPs correlate with gender development in people with DSD.   

Methods .  25 participants included male (n=7) and female (n=8) controls, women with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS, n=5)) and women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency (CAH, n=5).  All participants completed standardized measures of gender role and identity, OAEs and AEPs.

Text Box: Results .  Preliminary analyses reveal that control men and women report masculine and feminine gender, respectively.  Women with CAIS report more feminine behavior and women with CAH report gender behavior that is more male-typical than the other women (Figure 1). 

Similar to the gender data, men exhibited masculine patterns of OAEs and women exhibited feminine patterns while women with CAIS were more female-typical and those with CAH were more male-typical (Figure 2). 

Conclusions .  This preliminary work suggests that sexually dimorphic measures of the auditory system, believed to be sensitive to prenatal androgen exposure, correlate with gender development in people with DSD.  Thus, these measures may be useful for assessing central nervous hormone exposure in people with DSD for the purpose of predicting gender development.