However, as somebody who is on the autistic spectrum, I have noted that my index and "ring finger"[edit thanks to comment] are of equal lengths, a trait more common in females than males who tend to have one longer - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digit_ratio
Another aspect/theory from personal experience is that my earliest memory was as a baby, equally I used to have a nightmare that abaieted when I was able to tell my mother who informed me of my birth complications and so much of my nightmare correlated, just seemed so related but then, never know for sure beyond once I knew this, my nightmares stopped. In short, maybe (least in my case) autistic people senses and other parts of the brain kick in earlier at a time when we are less able to process them and this becomes another party of the puzzle.
But would I change if I could go back in time and become normal is a question I have asked myself and the answer for me is - no, though the thought of what life would of been like, naturally yields to pondering.
The connection to estrogen is an interesting one. Estrogen does have an important effect on neurotransmitter receptors, including dopaminergic, but my speculation is worthless here. Is there anyone here that has a better understanding of this that can provide some clarity?
So, go back, and first check or devise a model. Model organism for autism is a very hard problem.
Fwiw I found his comment to be interesting conjecture. I too have many dopamine related issues and until we have a better true understanding, all we can do is hypothesize and guess based on the small bits we do know.
Treating humans as black boxes isn't necessary anymore. We have very good measuring tools now. I believe we can make much faster progress if we just look inside and use logic inference.
Interesting how you mention sound sensitivity at a later age and I would say puberty saw many senses become more acute. Hearing still today (which is not fun living above a crack-house) in my 50's, it is still impressive.
I, also developed my own coping mechanisms and in many situations, people would have no clue that I was on the spectrum. Equally I'm aware of my kryptonite issues, so avoidance is as with many, whilst not ideal, a good plan B coping mechanism.
But with sound, and many coping mechanisms we develop in out brain, I do find falling asleep hard as those mechanisms take focus and the conflict of sleep and awake fall foul in such situations.
But I just love my bluetooth headphones, listening to music and whilst not drown out the outside world (I don't use noise canceling and play music low), it is enough to dull outside sounds that can prove annoying - which are more annoying the more tired I am, as in unable to focus them out.
But you know what my most favorite things in life still is today - a walk in the snow with nobody around. Kinda my happy place and living in outer London, one in which a good memory has its upsides as not that many opportunities to actually do it.
Do you remember having ear infections as a child, and were they painful at all?
Re: Falling asleep - what you've said regarding sleep is another proof point to me that you likely have a hearing imbalance. I found the comment on HN I made going into more detail on theory of how it works - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13657973 - and in it I explain why your brain may not be able to actually stop paying attention to sound, which of course - a natural cycle of falling asleep - will have your senses slowly diminish until you're asleep and not not getting strong signals from them, or rather not reacting to them - making it difficult to fall asleep.
When I was in Grade 2 I had trouble focusing in class - they brought in an audiologist to see if I had trouble hearing. They were surprised that no, in fact, I could hear extremely well - however they didn't recognize that as a problem, hypersensitive hearing.
A standard audiogram only checks to see that you can hear well enough in each ear, at different frequencies, say at 15 decibels. Checking for imbalances they check instead for HOW LOW of a decibel you can hear at different frequencies. Say in your right ear the lowest you can hear 1000 Hz frequency is 15 decibels, but in your left ear you hear at 10 decibels - that would show an imbalance by 5 decibels. Very few audiologists do this test, so I'd be very surprised if you found stumbled into one who did check it in this way.
I am not autistic, but do have high aural senses. As a kid, I could hear well above 20khz. Today, that has rolled off due to age, but my discrimination is still great.
Sounds can sometimes move me to distraction. ASMR, for example. I trigger easily and it is fairly intense.
There is something about the crisp air, dampening on sound that snow presents to us, and what little is heard otherwise seems to just stand right out, like incongruent, but not in a bad way. Just there, present.
That shit is weird.
In order for genes to have any impact on an organism they need to be expressed. And it's expression that creates the enzymes that create hormones. So it's hard to separate those two.
Environmental exposure can change how genes are expressed and thus hormones.
Hormones valances in the womb, as you mentioned, are likely a driver of homosexuality. And having kids changes the hormone balance, making some arrangements of sons and daughters more likely to be gay.
And of course not a p-value or effect size is sight.
Because... it’s wikipedia and you wouldn’t expect to find those things
While I’m sure nobody thinks there is a casual relationship, you can find statistically significant effects on the digit ratio
Those are two names for the same finger. Did you mean index and ring ringer?
I don't know if this is good news, or bad news but... there is no normal. I know what you meant, what it would be like without ASD. But I'm not sure that would give you any particular insight into anything other than simply being a different person.
In a classroom of 30 students, where 1 is viewed by the rest as abnormal, there is normal. Yes, it is only a social construct whose impact is based on our personal experience and the society in which we live, but this is true of many things which I think we would not tolerate being dismissed so readily.
When half the class isn't neurotypical, being neurotypical isn't any more "normal" than having blue eyes is "normal".
I mean, yeah there is? There are 7 billion people on this planet. If you could create some score of peoples intelligence, how they react/respond to people, their normal physical movements and put that into a distribution the autistic people would definitely be on the tail end of the curves.
Sure everyone is different in various ways- but a lot of those differences are very small compared to the differences exhibited by autistic people.
I can give you a direct example- my oldest son has.. something. We had him tested for autism when he was younger and were basically told that yeah there is 'something'. He's not technically autistic, or at least not the level where he needs extreme special stuff, but he does exhibit some of the traits of autistic children, just in a more minor way. So for lack of any better term he is "very slightly autistic". At 7 years old he has an insane memory (closest to "photographic" that I've ever encountered) and seems highly intelligent in some areas (but definitely not in others! it's quite incredible actually to see sometimes..). He has some of the physical traits where he can't really sit still, needs weighted blankets, has some of those unique arm movements of autistic people.. but again fairly subtle. A lot of things to him can be more black/white than gray, because he seems to need to fit everything into a very specific bucket in his mind.
Every teacher he has had, including some which work with the more special ed kids, has said "yeah there is... something different about him".
Now conversely, my younger child I would classify as "normal". Why do I say that? Well.. I worked at co-op preschools with both of my boys for years. I saw lots of kids. And when you see a ton of kids and play/interact with them... I mean yeah there is a normal. Normal is how you would expect someone to behave and interact with. There is a relatively normal way you would expect a 7 year old to respond in various situations, etc.
Anyway- sorry for writing a book. I guess I'm putting off work.. I just found it a bit strange to not accept that, well, most people are actually pretty darn similar while a minority of people are very different. I see it every day in my house!
The non-controversial terms that people use related to issues like autism are “neurotypical” and “neurodivergent”.
No it's not... I was responding to someone who said there is no "normal". Yeah, there is. Most people behave in a way you would expect. Most people exhibit motor controls the way you would expect. A minority of people, and specifically people with autism, really do think in a "different" way and exhibit strange motor functions at times that most people do not.
I don't think we have to dance around politically correct terms here. I'm using normal in the statistical sense. Statistically, most people are very neurologically similar and then some people are (relatively) wildly different.
Which is semantics. You’re using a different meaning of the word to fit your point just like the person did in the grandfather comment. You even put the word normal in quotes yourself indicating that you understand how words can be interpreted differently. I wasn’t disagreeing with your interpretation of the term.
This is absurd. How do you have any idea what "you would expect"?
>I'm using normal in the statistical sense. Statistically, most people are very neurologically similar and then some people are (relatively) wildly different.
First, define "very neurologically similar". Second, "most people are similar" in a normal distribution because that's the way the distribution is defined. It's not some biological coincidence.
There's a funny thing that happens every time an article on autism comes up on this site where a bunch of commenters state they have some degree of autism. This aligns perfect with the OP's argument: everyone is "normal", but I'm not. I'm special.
It's why "normies" is a thing. Everyone sees everyone else as "normal", but they're different. I wonder why that is?
The stats I can find quickly suggest blond hair in the US is around 3%, and autism in the US is around 1.7%.
Some measurable aspects of human physiology and behavior would fall into a normal distribution (i.e. "bell curve") if you graph it, yes. Bell curves are common enough that there is a lay assumption that all distributions look like that, but it isn't the case, at all. Certain forces are required to lead to that flavor of distribution and in the absence of those, you can get graphs of all sorts of shapes.
For example, if you were to graph "how feminine" a set of people are, you're unlikely to get a bell curve where most people are androgynous. Instead, you get a bimodal distribution where there's a hump on one side for dudes and one on the right for ladies. In fact, graphs of height show a similar distribution.
If you graph how many fingers someone has, you'll probably get something closer to a power law where almost everyone is on the left at "10", a few misfortunate at "9", even few very unlucky at "8", and so on. (Plus a couple of odd points for polydactyly, etc.) This is the famous "long tail" you hear about in economics.
So there is certainly variation in all attributes, but that does not imply that the center of that range is the most populated. And thus, there may not be a "normal" in the typical "average and most common" sense of the word.
What does a normal set of genitals look like?
Equally it is hard to evaluate such a different timeline as you are evaluating from a different perspective/timeline.
Just as long as people remember that this is a personal decision, and not one you can make for others. I wonder what I would do for my children, both of whom have autism and who I love. But my older child is non-verbal, still wears diapers, and is a flight risk. He cannot take care of himself. I worry what will happen when my wife and I can no longer take care of him adequately. Adult autistic support is not great.
But what will he lose if I "cure" him. Both boys are happy, affectionate, and they are the lights of my life. They are far happier than those who are far more "successful" in life.
It's not easy.
Could be a pattern. Could be a pattern that doesn't actually exist. I think we need more samples (I'd imagine some selection bias on HN)
I notice my fingers are similar in length if I look at the top of my hand.
But looking at the palm of my hand, as shown in the picture on the wikipedia page, they look very different in length.
The title as written contradicts the article, using the colloquial meaning of the words involved. There's probably a more precise technical meaning where everything makes sense, but the article doesn't really explain it.
Better brain function in general means that someone on the autism spectrum is less likely to have general life issues that lead to an official diagnosis. Anything that could reasonably be linked to a decrease in IQ can also reasonably be linked to autism. IQ is positively correlated with general life outcomes, and negative life outcomes are part of the diagnostic criteria for autism.
I'm not medically qualified at all, but that sounds a bit like saying Typhoid Mary didn't have typhoid because she was asymptomatic. That someone is able to effectively cope with a condition doesn't mean they don't have the condition. Am I missing something?
Furthermore, people simply don't seek diagnosis and care unless they're having problems that are severe enough. One example is Bill Gross, the "bond king", who figured out that he had Aspergers in his 70s. If someone is adjusted enough to their social niche, why would they seek a mental health diagnosis?
I guess what my ultimate misunderstanding is:
> One complicating factor that I put into every thread about random things being associated with autism
How is that a complicating factor in discovering causes themselves? If someone has the Foo and Bar factors that cause autism, but has otherwise been able to work around it they are still "autistic" but just at a subclinical (is that the right phrase?) level. I guess I'm having some (pedantic?) misunderstanding around autism as a diagnosis vs. a disease you have.
>How is that a complicating factor in discovering causes themselves?
The study links the factor under study to autism diagnosis, rather than some hypothetical "true" rate of autism that includes undiagnosed and subclinical cases. Ten IQ points can be the difference between otherwise-identical autistics barely passing a class versus failing it and getting referred to a psychologist. Or after getting referred, the difference between qualifying for a diagnosis or not.
The latter actually happened to me personally in elementary school: I had held my pen funny in a way that made my hand hurt after a while, and my teacher referred me for refusing to complete a handwritten class assignment. They did a test on various types of school subjects, and I ranked a bit above grade level in some and far above grade level on others. If I was a grade lower in each subject and thus had below grade level scores, I'd've gotten an official diagnosis of some kind of subject-specific learning disability. But instead, there wasn't enough of a problem to need to do stuff, and doing stuff costs money, so they basically shrugged their shoulders and sent me on my way.
It's like saying that someone with nearsightedness is asymptomatic and therefore not nearsighted because someone is good at squinting. There are still symptoms if you know what to check for.
> There are still symptoms if you know what to check for.
What are these in autism? Are you sure they exist? It may be that "inability to mask" is just what autism _is_.
The other thing is that autism is somewhat nebulous and it's in part a condition of not being able to cope socially in this world. So because of this, it makes sense what GP was saying.
I'm glad I don't need to diagnose autism. Severe is easy to see from 100m away. Borderline would be a coin toss.
Post diagnosis, there's even treatment for some of the things that high-end functioning adults with autism simply can't do without medication, and are negatively judged for by society.
I keep myself informed on transgender issues because I have transgender people near and dear to me and I have transgender colleagues at work. In my personal life many of the transgender women I know identify as on the spectrum, some more intensely than others. 1 in 4 sounds right anecdotally as well.
Anecdotally, I think it might be true that younger people in general are more receptive to identifying as autistic while people my age or older might be averse to it even with the same experiences.
As in, one circumstance is being conflated with another circumstance and this is counterproductive for everyone
While I hate to agree with this, it is also my opinion as a transgender woman myself.
I also believe that the percentage of trans people who are also part of the spectrum and who are in online support groups is even higher than 7%.
Often, they are quirky people who have difficulty expressing their opinions, points of view and identity. They often seem rude and frustrated. They are very passionate about the subject of gender identity and will make far-fetched statements and present them as facts. This results in very embarrassing interactions.
Personally, I can't stand their quirks and I often have negative experiences with them. These users will take up all the space and drive other users away.
My favorite Facebook support group is the result of two of these "migrations". The first group was huge and became "unstable", so a few people created a second one. After a while, some of the users from the first group found the second one so a third group was created. This group is set to invitation only and has around twenty users.
Many people approach me as if I was autistic, which I am not and it is frustrating at best.
This is very taboo and most people will not talk about it. You cannot deny support to people on the spectrum, but I wish they had their own spaces.
I would bet that most of the socially awkward encounters people have with trans individuals is just that. It's people interacting with people with autism. Being transgender is about finding and expressing your gender identity. Puberty is always awkward for anyone involved at first but most people grow out of it and become adults and this is no different for a second puberty.
Being stuck in-between, unable to express one's identity in a socially acceptable way is not a symptom of gender dysphoria, it is a symptom of the autistic spectrum disorder.
If people were more aware of this, they could act accordingly. Just because someone is on the spectrum doesn't mean that they are invalid in their trans identity. It simply means that they have their own needs and require a different mindset.
I understand that this is going to come across as very controversial. It is not my goal to belittle anyone and this is merely my anecdotal point of view as someone from within those communities.
Good luck finding a way to say it.
And I'd like to have a word with whoever downvoted this.
The comment is essentially: "I read someone claiming something one time." It has no sources, no links to anything to explore or understand, nothing. There's not even a link to the article or story. Just someone making a wild statement on the internet.
But just pointing this out cost me -2 karma, which is -- again, anecdotally -- an example of how Hacker News is a toxic environment for marginalized folks.
I'd love to see some studies on that too.
In general, I'm specifically skeptic of claims of behavioral changes associated with HRT, as I feel as if a lot of those claims have roots in gendered preconceptions of women that have nothing to do with biological differences. People going through HRT will associate personal, unrelated, experiences with the medical transition, but cannot be corroborated through any studies or research.
The most obvious example was my response to emotional situations in fiction. Going from only being able to empathize with characters only on an intellectual level to also being able to empathize on an instinctual/emotional level was was so incredibly obvious it was like going from black and white to color.
One the one hand, you could dismiss "I cry at movies now" as just an intellectually-driven conformity with gender stereotypes. You could dismiss my self-report as rationalization--even a dishonest one. On the other hand, what we're fundamentally talking about here is my own mental states--something about which I have first hand observation and you can have only assumptions.
Go through the thought exercise of what kind of information you'd need to evaluate this kind of claim scientifically. You'll quickly realize how incredibly implausible it would be that anyone would perform (or fund!) a study like this.
Seeing as that's never going to happen, You're left with the choice of either (1) believing people's self-report as the best available evidence, or (2) requiring trans people to solve something like the "Chinese Room Argument" just to justify that their own mental states are, in fact, real. It's like asking someone to prove they actually love their spouse, and aren't just simulating that behavior. Who else is subjected to this level of burden of proof? It's totally unreasonable.
I do understand that these things are different for everyone and it's basically impossible to prove, but you can understand my skepticism. I definitely experienced some of the emotional elements you mention, but they aren't new to me. I don't cry or get upset now where I wouldn't have before. It does feel different though. I do not think this is the same as some of the behavioral changes that the parent is describing. My behavior hasn't changed. I'm still just as much of a nice/mean/thoughtful/forgetful/etc person that I was before. I had ADD before, I have ADD now. My political views haven't changed, I don't treat my friends differently, my hobbies haven't changed. I can't think of anything special about autism that would allow for those symptoms to change because of HRT.
That is, I eventually learned how to process emotions 'correctly', something I was never taught as a child. This is coincident with my transition. I am unclear if it has been directly caused by HRT, but I haven't ruled it out.
However. I absolutely disagree that this is a change caused by "intellectually-driven conformity with gender stereotypes".
But there are plenty of symptoms of ASD that have nothing to do with stereotypical gendered behavior. And they are a requirement for diagnosis.
Personally I don't know.
People who are gender-nonconforming and/or trans, are more likely to have the main trigger event for being diagnosed with autism: being told that they seem autistic. Which will lead to more of them "being" autistic (in the medical-statistics sense, under which people who have ASD but are never diagnosed, get categorized as "neurotypical.")
I'm not saying I necessarily believe it, but it's one of the most interesting articles I've read recently.
If someone publicly asserts they're trapped in the body of the wrong sex, and does not back down when challenged, might this be sufficiently weird to be ASD by definition? Especially given the awkwardness of violating gender norms.
A comparison between ASD diagnosis rates in places where trans identity is culturally normalized might shed some light on it, but as ASD diagnosis is also pretty cultural it might be tricky.
Both sides get the same autism diagnosis since both of them are better at dealing with things than people, but they are completely different. For me I felt the diagnosis would hurt more than help since it didn't properly describe me, so I asked for a proper test and alternatives. I got ADD and social phobia, there were no signs of proper autism but I could have gotten a diagnosis from the original psychologists hunch.
Edit: Elsewhere in this comment thread, the argument appears to be that the opposite may in fact be true: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20588240
The Case Against Fragrance - Kate Grenville
Also, I think this story from 2014 about BPS is the biggest bombshell to consumers that just hasn't hit critical awareness yet:
All my kids drink from stainless steel or glass now. It's made me a bit of a plasti-phobe.
Not saying that is the case here, but I agree with the parent-it inspires some scepticism from me.
I very specifically said that I was not saying that was what happened in this case, just that I agreed that there was something of a red flag.
> Here we test whether levels of prenatal oestriol, oestradiol, oestrone and oestrone sulphate in amniotic fluid are associated with autism, in the same Danish Historic Birth Cohort, in which prenatal androgens were measured, using univariate logistic regression (n = 98 cases, n = 177 controls). We also make a like-to-like comparison between the prenatal oestrogens and androgens. Oestradiol, oestrone, oestriol and progesterone each related to autism in univariate analyses after correction with false discovery rate. A comparison of standardised odds ratios showed that oestradiol, oestrone and progesterone had the largest effects on autism likelihood.
> In the group with ASD, 69.7% of the sample reported being non-heterosexual, while in the TD group, 30.3% reported being non-heterosexual. The group with ASD reported higher rates of homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality, but lower rates of heterosexuality
I am uncertain what influence multiple pregnancies has on estrogen levels - let alone how comparable birth control is but that could offer a hint.
Sometimes there are users who go rogue on a particular topic that for whatever reason they're obsessed with, and post way too many comments pushing an agenda on that point. This is bad for the site. If people overdo it repeatedly, we ask them to stop and ban them if they don't. Sometimes they create a series of accounts that we ban in succession. Eventually, sometimes, they manage to avoid the topic while participating on HN in other ways. In that case they're welcome here. But if we notice relapses, we remind them to stop and ban them if they don't. We do that because past experience teaches that going a little down that road usually ends in going the whole way.
In other words, this is a way to avoid banning a user by selectively banning only a (user, topic) pair instead. It's extra work, but it seems fair to allow someone to participate in the site as long as they avoid the destructive pattern.
I don't understand why not?
Many autistic people have tremendously contributed to our society. The goal in this case is to develop the knowledge and tools that will help everyone use this as a strength.
Autism isn't inherently bad, it's just different. There's no duty beyond screenings and providing the knowledge.
Not true for all manifestations of it.
Of course it's not always true. The poster is right that autism isn't inherently bad, just different.
And since when do we judge human beings on their usefulness? Should we kill every non productive beings with that reasoning since they're not "useful"?
And nobody downvote you 2 is a shame.
They'll probably say no, but their kid is useless socially, economically, etc. Can't have a job, can't help others, can't have friends, can't have a normal life, hell can't even have a life.
>And since when do we judge human beings on their usefulness?
Since always? That's all we do. And this is not a case of someone who's in a wheelchair or deaf, this is someone who can't do anything other than yell and throw things. That's my experience with an autistic person at the "high end" of the spectrum.
What's a "difference"? You're begging the question by implicitly redefining what would fairly be described as a challenge or handicap, depending on severity, as simply being a "difference" instead.
Inability to properly simulate the mental state of others is, by and large, a deficiency. Mental abilities that you cultivate in the place of that can be interesting, but it's not just a "difference".
If we're going to give people the right to abort, and the right to abort based on screening processes - both of which are huge moral questions in and of themselves - then it only stands to reason that we continue to give parents more power in this situation based on the information we can give them.
Since in many places you can simply abort because you just don't want the kid, which is a pretty simple reason, it stands to reason that more complicated / more concretely justified reasons would be fine also.
"should not be used to screen for autism" — They have identified a statistically-valid link between estrogen levels and autism, and are worried that parents will say "I have high estrogen levels, I'd better terminate my pregnancy and try again". Sadly, some parents will.
"not preventing [autism]" — Imagine that autism is what makes hermits (such as Merlin the Wizard) valuable to nearby towns. The towns bring the hermit food and build a house to keep them all far apart, because the hermit is incredibly strange and doesn't care about people's feelings — but also can solve any problem and always seems to be coming up with ways to make everyone's life better.
> This finding appears to contradict an earlier report by Windham et al.  that showed that lower levels of oestriol in second trimester were modestly associated with a later diagnosis of autism in the offspring. However, our samples correspond to a slightly earlier time point in pregnancy compared to Windham et al. (mean gestational week = 14.9 vs. 17.2 respectively) (see Table 1) , which could potentially better capture the steroid surge during the PMW . Furthermore, our samples are of different origin, as Windham et al. assayed maternal serum, rather than foetal amniotic fluid. Steroid hormone levels in maternal serum do not differ relative to the baby’s sex and do not correlate to amniotic levels during the PMW .
So, high levels in blood reduce the autism risk and in amniotic fluid it's the other way around? I'll wait for a replication, I think
Biology is decidedly unlike good code - no modularity, many pleiotropic effects. Something more definitive would be examining pregnancies where oestrogens were artificially elevated, maybe by looking at women who were unknowingly pregnant but continued to take oestrogenic contraceptives.
I wonder how this fits with the "extreme male brain theory of autism".
and obesity leads to higher than normal estrogen levels:
So this may be the connection.
> Maternal obesity (BMI ≥30) was only weakly associated with ASD risk, whereas paternal obesity was associated with an increased risk of autistic disorder and Asperger disorder.
Paternal obesity couldn't impact womb estrogen levels. There's a weak connection between maternal obesity and ASD risk in the study you linked.
> The 1.9 nanograms of estrogen in implanted beef is also minuscule compared to 225 nanograms of estrogen in potatoes, 340 nanograms of estrogen in peas, 520 nanograms of estrogen in ice cream, 2,000 nanograms of estrogen in cabbage, 11,250 nanograms of estrogen in soy milk, and 170,000 nanograms of estrogen in soybean oil… all based on a 3 ounce serving size. One birth control pill contains 35,000 nanograms of estrogen.
Phytoestrogens have a similar structure to estrogen, and can thus bind to the estrogen receptors, but they have only a weak estrogenic effect (the opposite might actually happen). The effect of isoflavones, at least, has been studied , finding "no significant effect" on "T, SHBG, free T, or FAI" - this despite the trials featuring subjects whose "soy protein and isoflavone intake greatly exceeded typical dietary Japanese intake", which was said to range from "25 to 50 mg" in Japanese adults.
What effect isoflavones have might be debated, but that comparison remains apples to oranges. A daily dose of estrogen greater than 25 to 50 mg would definitely have an effect. Even a tenth of that would have a very noticeable effect. It doesn't, so just saying "170'000 ng per serving" tells us nothing, not when the comparison includes birth control pills.
Hell, that comparison would even remain apples to orange if you just compared animal estrogens, or those estrogens that can be found in pill form. Diane 35 contains ethinylestradiol, which is much more potent than conjugated estrogens (Premarin & co) or micronized estradiol (Estrace): while 95% of the estrogen you ingest is going to be inactivated, ethinylestradiol bypasses most of that.
Isoflavones do not, they also undergo first-pass metabolism, so the comparison is doubly flawed.
If this were true, all the pre-transition trans women I know would be eating a LOT more soy. Unfortunately, it's not, and can even have the opposite effect, by binding to receptors that estrogen would, preventing it from acting normally.
> and can even have the opposite effect
This part gets omitted a distressing amount of the time, unfortunately.
Why am I telling you this? Because there is a test that can tell if the fetus has hemophilia or not by sampling blood via amniocentesis. When my mom was pregnant with my brother, she had this procedure done.
However, there were complications during pregnancy and my brother, although he was in fact born without hemophilia, has severe birth defects in his lower extremities. It was later found to be directly caused by the test itself.
Just goes to show what happens when you try to play god.
We aren't there yet, but I hope we end up surviving and maturing to the point where we can "play god" and do so ethically.