Saturday, 7 February 2015

New studies and evidence

Heya everybody,

I managed to go through 19 studies today, and added them to my master files. I’ll upload them shortly, I promise! Again, there is quite a bit of additional evidence for a bioloigcal cause of transsexualism. Here’s a summary of the important points:

  • Kang, Imperato-McGinley, et al. study the effects of 5a-reductase-2 deficiency (a disorder of sex development) and find that most persons affected by the disorder raised as females transition to a male gender role later on (in “Fertility and sterility”, 2014). This adds further weight to the hypothesis that gender identity is biological, and not merely formed by socialisation.

  • In “The journal of sexual medicine”, 2015, Japanese researchers Nakachi, Iseki, et al. look at gene expression in female mice after being treated with testosterone shortly after birth. Following the hormonal administration, they found that 334 (!) genes were expressed differently. This suggests that “many gender-dysphoria-related genes are upregulated during female brain masculinization”. The massive number of differences found shows the large impact hormones have around birth in differentiating the two genders, and provides further clues to better understand gender dysphoria.

  • Pasterski, Acerini, et al. find “evidence for neurobehavioral effects of the postnatal androgen surge in typically developing boys” (Hormones and Behavior, 2015). “[…] prenatal androgen exposure […] and early postnatal androgen exposure […] were significant predictors of increased masculine/decreased feminine behavior, with each accounting for unique variance”. So, again, sex hormone levels around birth are found to influence sex-typed behavior.

  • Researchers Colizzi, Costa and Todarello are looking into the very important question of whether transsexuals people really do have more psychological problems than healthy controls (Psychiatry Research, 2015). They find that 29.6 % of their focus group had dissociative disorders (also, sadly, and underlining the misery many transsexuals experience, 45.8 % had a major depressive episode, 21.2 % had attempted suicide and 45.8 % experienced childhood trauma). Hormonal treatment was found yet again to lower dissociative symptoms and improve mental health. However, the question of whether the elevated occurrence of dissociative symptoms in gender-dysphoric individuals is real could not be answered, due to the inability to differentiate between symptoms of gender dysphoria and separate pathological dissocative experiences.

  • The Dutch group of transsexual researchers (Hoekzema, Schagen, et. al., in “Psychoneuroendocrinology”, 2015) have measured brain volumes and volumetric distribution of grey matter in brains of gender-dysphoric individuals. Overall, brains of transsexuals resemble their birth sex, but in some regions of interest differences from birth sex controls were found. This further contributes to findings that transsexuals have undergone sex-atypical differentiation of the brain.

  • Jacobs, Rachlin, et al. write in “LGBT Health”, 2014, that autism spectrum disorders should not disqualify from gender transition, since “individuals with high-functioning ASDs are capable of making informed decisions regarding their medical care and life choices”.

  • The Belgian team of researchers of transsexualism report on the current prevalence of gender dysphoria in Flanders. Apparently, around 2 % of people are gender-ambivalent, with roughly 0.6 % being gender dysphoric (van Caenegem, Wierckx, et. al. in the “Archives of Sexual Behavior”, 2015).

  • Birkett, Newcomb and Mustanski (in the “Journal of adolescent health”, 2015) have been testing whether Dan Savage’s “it gets better” claim can be supported scientifically. After studying 213 LGBT-adolescents, they found, indeed, that it does get better: “both psychological distress and victimization decreased across adolescence and into early adulthood”. Yay!

  • Navarro, Larrañaga and Yubero sadly find that gender-variant children fall victim to bullying (in “Child indicators research”, 2015).

  • Aitken, Steensma, et al. (in “The Journal of Sexual Medicine”, 2015) find that in samples taken from gender identity clinics in both Toronto and Amsterdam, the sex ratio has reversed in recent years. In the past, male-to-female transsexuals used to be in the majority, whereas female-to-male individuals now provide the larger share. Listed among the authors of the study is the dubious and discredited sexologist Ray Blanchard, who used to believe transsexualism is caused by a misdirected male sex drive. This finding further discredits his old theory. I wonder whether he’s changing his mind to match the facts in his old age, or whether he’ll come up with yet another unsupported just-so story to explain away his cognitive dissonance. 😏

So, that’s it for now … I’m exhausted ☺ Peace and light ✨