"The discovery that growth of the developing digits is controlled directly by androgen and estrogen receptor activity confirms that finger proportions are a lifelong signature of our early hormonal milieu," Cohn said. "In addition to understanding the basis of one of the more bizarre differences between the sexes, it's exciting to think that our fingers can tell us something about the signals that we were exposed to during a short period of our time in the womb. There is growing evidence that a number of adult diseases have fetal origins. With the new data, we've shown that that the digit ratio reflects one's prenatal androgen and estrogen activity, and that could have some explanatory power."
Using appropriate tests for monitoring hormone therapy is crucial in establishing the appropriate dosing regimen. This reduces the chance of undesirable side effects and maximizes beneficial effects. For example, excessive use of androgens (testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, and testosterone derivatives) can activate subclinical prostate tumors which are androgen-dependent. Monitoring is especially important in older males. By the age of 70, at least 50% of men have subclinical prostate cancer. These men are especially susceptible to prostate growth stimulation by androgens.
Neural injections of Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) were applied to males of both groups to test for neurogenesis . Analysis showed that testosterone and dihydrotestosterone regulated adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis was regulated through the androgen receptor in the wild-type male rats, but not in the TMF male rats. To further test the role of activated androgen receptors on AHN, flutamide , an antiandrogen drug that competes with testosterone and dihydrotestosterone for androgen receptors , and dihydrotestosterone were administered to normal male rats. Dihydrotestosterone increased the number of BrdU cells, while flutamide inhibited these cells.