Saturday 3 January 2015

Brains of transsexuals resemble brains of their experienced gender and more

Heya everybody!

Finally, before it’s back to work next week, I managed to do some housekeeping and summarised the articles I have added over the previous weeks. Here are the highlights:

  • More evidence is collected that gender-dysphoric persons have undergone atypical sexual differentiation of the brain. Burke, Cohe-Kettenis, et al. (in “Frontiers in Endocrinology”, 2014) looked at the responses of the hypothalamus (a part of the brain) when patients were exposed to an odour which evokes sex differences in brain activation in adult heterosexual men and women. “We found that the sex difference in responsiveness to androstadienone was already present in pre-pubertal control children and thus likely developed during early perinatal development instead of during sexual maturation. Adolescent girls and boys with GD both responded remarkably like their experienced gender, thus sex-atypical.” Again, this means that the brain of transsexuals at least partly resembles the brain of their experienced gender, providing more proof that male-to-female transsexuals really are women and female-to-male transsexuals really are men.

  • Holt, Skagerberg and Dunsford find (Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2014) that difficulties associated with gender dysphoria in children and young people are bullying, low mood/depression and self-harming. The difficulties increased with age.

  • Bartolucci, Gómez-Gil, et al. report in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine” in 2014 that about half of transsexuals report their sex life as being poor or very poor before sex reassignment surgery. Hormone therapy is associated with a better sexual quality of life.

  • Brown and Jones find in a very large American study (published in “Breast Cancer Research and Treatment”, 2014) of transgender veterans that hormone therapy does not increase risk of breast cancer. This finding is consistent with European studies.

  • An Australian study by del pozo de Bolger, Jones, et al. finds that for trans men, “going through a masculinisation process and coming out reportedly led to improved mental health”. Published in the “Australian Psychologist”, 2014.

  • A German study, published by “Deutsches Ärzteblatt International” in 2014 by Hess, Neto, et. al. looks at the long-term satisfaction with life after sex reassignment surgery. Satisfaction rates were very high at 90.2 %. However, the drop-out rate was also high, with less than 50 % of former patients returning the questionnaire.

  • Baranyi, Piber and Rothenhäusler write in the “Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift” (2009) that their literature search of the last 22 years found a regret/doubt rate of up to 8 % after sex reassignment surgery.

  • Selvaggi, Monstrey, et al. study the genital sensitivity after sex reassignment surgery (Annals of plastic surgery, 2007). They find that 100 % of female-to-male and 85 % male-to-female patients reported the ability to orgasm.

  • “The Journal of Neuroscience”, 2014 published a study by Clarkson, Busby, et al. about the sexual differentiation of the brain of mice. They found a signaling mechanism that drives the male-specific surge of testosteron which masculinises the brain, and is therefor essential for male brain development.

  • Amend, Seibold, et al. (in “European urology”, 2013) look at 24 patients having had male-to-female sex reassignment surgery and find no major complications: “gender reassignment can be performed with minimal complications”. “All patients reported satisfactory vaginal functionality.” “Neoclitoral sensation was good or excellent in 97% of patients”.

  • Brunocilla, Soli, et al., having studied the pelvis of male-to-female transsexuals after surgery by magnetic resonance, report in 2012 in the “International Journal of Impotence Research” that „the anthropometric parameters measured in our patients were comparable with those of [cisgender] women”.

  • In 2012, Furtado, Moraes, et al. studied the link between gender dysphoria and disorders of sex development (Nature Reviews Urology, 2012). They find that between 8.5 % to 20 % of individuals with disorders of sex development (DSD) also suffer from gender dysphoria with some types of DSD exhibiting up to 63 % patients with gender dysphoria. This strengthens my opinion that gender dysphoria should be classified as DSD.

  • Bandini, Fisher, et al. publish in 2011 (International Journal of Impotence Research) that more than quarter of of male-to-female transsexuals reported childhood maltreatment. “Maltreated subjects reported a higher body dissatisfaction and display a worse lifetime mental health.”

  • In 2014 in “LGBT Health” Blosnich, Brown, et. al. report that the suicide rate among transgender veterans “is higher than in the general population, and they may be dying by suicide at younger ages than their veteran peers”.

  • In an article in the “Journal of Clinical Psychology”, 2014, Robles, Fresán, et al. report that a large share of clinicians wants to remove gender identity disorder from the medical classification as mental disorder.

  • Meyenburg, Kröger and Neugebauer find in the “Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie”, 2015, that young transsexuals reported little psychopathology and that low-frequency supportive treatment appears sufficient. After hormonal/surgical treatment, most patients were satisfied with the results. All patients showed less psychopathology on follow-up, independent of role change or intensity of psychotherapy.

Phew – that was a lot!

I don’t know what people like Leelah Alcorn’s parents say to the huge body of evidence that exists on gender dysphoria. Perhaps something like they said on CNN: “we don’t support that, religiously” – with “that” meaning facts, evidence or reality?

Peace and light.

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