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HomeHealthA third of trans children given puberty blockers saw their mental health...

A third of trans children given puberty blockers saw their mental health deteriorate, analysis shows


A third of trans children treated with puberty blockers experienced a decline in their mental health while taking the drug, a new analysis of a landmark study reveals.

The original study found that 44 children, ages 12 to 15, who took the controversial drugs experienced no change, good or bad, in their mental health.

This report, produced by experts from the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at Tavistock and University College London (UCLH) hospitals in 2021, ultimately led to a reduction in the age at which children could access sunblocks of puberty.

But a new analysis of the data used in the report It found that 34 per cent of young people who questioned their gender saw their mental health deteriorate while using drugs.

This compared to 29 percent who improved their mental health and 37 percent who experienced no change.

The new analysis casts doubt on findings drawn up by experts from the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at Tavistock and University College London (UCLH) hospitals in 2021.

The reason for the difference in results is that the original study looked at participants’ overall average mental well-being over a 12-month period.

This resulted in patients whose mental health deteriorated and improved essentially canceling each other out, producing the overall finding of no change.

Instead, the new analysis tracked individual patients’ scores to produce its results and showed greater variation among participants taking the drug.

According to the authors, this method allowed for a more accurate idea of ​​how individual patients were doing in a study and is an approach that should be adopted in the future.

“Using this approach, it is possible to observe patterns, such as who benefits and who does not,” they wrote.

“We recommend that these approaches be incorporated into new gender dysphoria services being established in the UK, as well as new research studies being designed.”

Like the original study, the new analysis is limited.

This is a small general group of participants for whom there was no control group, a cohort of children who were not taking puberty blockers.

As such, while children’s mental health could change while taking puberty blockers, it cannot be proven that this is due to the medication and not other external factors.

The new analysis, which was uploaded to the preprint service for health studies. medRxivhas not yet been peer reviewed.

Puberty blockers are a controversial medication used in the treatment of trans children to stop the physical changes of puberty, such as breast development or facial hair.

They are administered under strict criteria for children with gender dysphoria, a condition in which they suffer discomfort or distress because their gender identity does not match their biological sex.

Feelings of gender dysphoria can intensify during puberty as the body undergoes changes in tune with the person’s biological sex.

Puberty blockers are also the way for teenagers to eventually receive opposite-sex hormones to change their bodies to fit their gender identity.

The NHS acknowledges that little is known about the long-term effects of puberty blockers on children.

Although the physical effects of pausing puberty can be reversed if the medication is stopped, the psychological effects are still unknown.

There is also some concern about the potential impact of puberty blockers on adolescent brain development and children’s bones.

In June, NHS England announced that puberty blockers will now only be given to teenagers suffering from gender dysphoria as part of a clinical investigation.

The announcement was made as part of the health service’s new gender incongruence service for children and young people, which will replace the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust clinic.

Tavistock was heavily criticized in an interim review by pediatrician Dr Hilary Cass in July last year, who called its model “unsustainable”.

The clinic has been accused of rushing children onto puberty-blocking drugs by former patients who feel they were not challenged enough.

Dr Cass has called for a “rapid” investigation into the use of these drugs after finding “insufficient evidence” about their benefits.

Tavistock is scheduled to close in May 2024 and be replaced by two regional centers in the north and south of the country.

The Cass review was commissioned by NHS England in 2020 amid concerns that there was “poor and inconclusive evidence to support clinical decision-making”.

There has also been concern about the sharp increase in referrals to GIDS.

More than 5,000 bypasses have been performed in recent years, compared to just a few hundred a decade ago.

Commenting on the new analysis, a spokesperson for the Tavistock and Portman Trust said: “We are grateful to all the clinicians and academics who have contributed to this study over the years, and we welcome new peer-reviewed analyzes from the evidence on how to support these young people. people.

“The analysis plan for the original study was developed independently by medical statisticians, and the underlying data were published so that other researchers could conduct additional analyses.”

While the Cass Review has submitted an interim report to the NHS, a final version is expected later this year.

A spokesperson told MailOnline that the new analysis would be taken into account in its final recommendations.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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