Testosterone does not guarantee success in Olympic competition

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The Olympics are here, and everyone is playing to win. But a year of global calamity has made more of us question the consensus on what it takes to be successful in life.

In our 20s, the consensus was that higher testosterone levels played an important role in success in sport and in life, but new research shows that it may not be the engine of performance. for the men and women we have been led to believe, according to a new study published in the journal Scientists progress.

With the decline in social norms, we can finally challenge some of the mistaken myths surrounding the hormone.

Researchers isolated high testosterone from the result

It is widely believed that testosterone is related to socioeconomic standing, despite higher rate of female-male college graduates over the past five years, and misleading income disparity statistics that base their analyzes on the univariate term of sex as the sole determinant of final income and employment status. Breaking with the convention of twenty-teens, researchers from the MRC Integrated Epidemiology Unit (IEU) and Population Health Sciences at the University of Bristol decided to test the myth linking testosterone to socio-economic position, instead of l ‘reverse, or to health affecting both position and testosterone levels.

The researchers isolated the effects of testosterone using a method called Mendelian randomization for a sample of 306,248 adults living in the UK, stored in the UK Biobank. They looked for causal links between testosterone and socio-economic position, such as employment status, income, education, and level of deprivation in her neighborhood, in addition to the effect of testosterone on her. BMI, risky behaviors, health and self-reported health. “There is a widespread belief that a person’s testosterone can affect where they end up in life,” said Amanda Hughes, senior research associate in epidemiology, PHS at Bristol Medical School, in a report. release under embargo shared with IE. “Our results suggest that, despite a lot of mythology surrounding testosterone, its social implications may have been overestimated.”

The research team started by identifying genetic variants linked to higher testosterone levels and then evaluated how these variants showed relationships with the results. Since a genetic code is selected before birth, it remains almost completely the same throughout life (with the exception of a few tragic exceptions, such as radiation exposure and cancer). This dramatically reduced the chances of the variants being altered by health, socio-economic scenarios, and other environmental characteristics encountered over a lifetime. Due to this firm variable, any associated result observed that scientists related to testosterone would show a very strong influence of testosterone on a person’s end result in life.

The role of testosterone in the outcome of life is practically nil

In the past, studies attempting to link men with high testosterone levels with common goals in society, such as higher family income, better neighborhood conditions, the likelihood of graduating from college and getting a job. skilled or coveted employment reported a positive correlation. Such salad days studies have also found a link between higher testosterone levels in women and lower incomes, living in a less affluent neighborhood and less likely to graduate from college. Previous studies have also established a higher link of testosterone in men with better health, with the opposite effect in women and a greater chance of risky behavior in men.

In contrast, the new study found almost no evidence linking genetic variants linked to testosterone levels to any outcome, for men or women. The researchers therefore concluded that there is little evidence to significantly (or scientifically) link testosterone levels to health, socio-economic position, or risk behaviors, for both women and men. . “Higher testosterone levels in men have already been linked to various types of social success,” said Hughes. “A study of male executives found that testosterone was higher for those with more subordinates. A study of male financial traders found that higher testosterone correlated with greater daily profits,” in addition higher education, self-employment and entrepreneurship. But while testosterone is linked to making a person more assertive or prone to take risks, “there are other explanations.”

“For example, a link between higher testosterone levels and success might simply reflect an influence of good health on both,” Hughes said in the embargoed statement. “Alternatively, socio-economic circumstances could affect testosterone levels. A person’s perception of their own success could influence testosterone: in studies of sports matches, it was found that testosterone increased in the winner compared to to the loser. ” In other words, a higher testosterone level is often a consequence of success, which in turn is caused by something else. After years of fad takes and misleading hits, it looks like we are coming to a place, based on empirical evidence, where we can finally say that the role of testosterone in life outcome is much less. that many of us have been led to believe.


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