When ideologues and the media insist that puberty blocking is the only appropriate care for children with gender dysphoria, don’t believe it. The studies have been few and far between, and there are many potential physical-health harms to children — such as infertility and poor bone development.
But now, it appears that the data are showing that when it comes to mental health, a greater number of children receiving puberty blockers did worse rather than those who fared better. From the BBC News story:
The majority of children in a landmark study on puberty blockers experienced positive or negative changes in their mental health, new analysis suggests.
The original study of 44 children, who all took the controversial drugs for a year or more, found no mental health impact — neither benefits nor harm. But a re-analysis of that data now suggests 34% saw their mental health deteriorate, while 29% improved. The authors of the original report have welcomed the new evidence.
The re-analysis, which has been seen by BBC Newsnight, questions some of the conclusions from the 2021 study about the potential mental health impact of puberty blockers on under 16s. It also sheds some light on this much-debated, but little understood, area of children’s medicine.
The new study has not been in a peer-reviewed journal yet. The authors say they felt there was an urgency in getting the information into the public domain.
What happened to these children?
The impact on each of the children varied. For a child who “deteriorated”, it could mean moving from being psychologically well and not needing treatment for their mental health, to meeting criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis such as depression or anxiety. Whereas a child who “improved” could move from needing mental health treatment to being considered mentally well.
However, what neither the original research paper, nor the re-analysis, can do is tell us why these young people fared so differently.
This is an crucial development in one of the most important cultural controversies of our era. At the very least, it indicates that these off-label uses of medications remain experimental. And it shows the greater wisdom of European countries that are hitting the brakes on transitioning children.
Clearly, much more research is needed in this field instead of the headlong drive to transition children who feel they are not the sex they were born. But will the American media cover it? Will the Biden administration rethink its push for a one-size-fits-all “gender-affirming care” approach to these agonized children?
Doubtful. On this side of the Atlantic, when it comes to LGBT issues, ideology trumps science.