British Study Finds 'Weak' Evidence Supporting Trans Medical Procedures

AP Photo/Armando Franca

For more than three years, Great Britain's National Health Service (NHS) has been undertaking a comprehensive study of transgender medical treatments currently in use around the world. This was a welcome development since virtually no comprehensive studies of this sort had previously been conducted. The project was named The Cass Review after Dr. Hilary Cass who was placed in charge of it. The review has now been completed and a final report was issued. To put it mildly, the news is not good for the burgeoning transgender medical industry. The specific conclusions that were reached supported what many of us had suspected all along. Doctors who are engaging in the use of hormones, puberty blockers, and genital mutilation surgery are sailing into uncharted territory. The study further concluded that the vast majority of children who experience gender confusion should be able to work through those issues without any sort of clinical intervention and the interventions currently being practiced are of dubious value at best. We'll highlight a few of the key takeaways here.

One of their first conclusions was that the available research into these treatment programs is of "poor quality" and it does not offer a reliable data pool to help make clinical decisions.

While a considerable amount of research has been published in this field, systematic evidence reviews demonstrated the poor quality of the published studies, meaning there is not a reliable evidence base upon which to make clinical decisions, or for children and their families to make informed choices. 

The practice of giving puberty blockers to children is based on a rationale that is "unclear" at best. The same goes for hormones, and the long-term effects are unknown.

The rationale for early puberty suppression remains unclear, with weak evidence regarding the impact on gender dysphoria, mental or psychosocial health. The effect on cognitive and psychosexual development remains unknown.

The use of masculinising / feminising hormones in those under the age of 18 also presents many unknowns, despite their longstanding use in the adult transgender population. The lack of long-term follow-up data on those commencing treatment at an earlier age means we have inadequate information about the range of outcomes for this group.

They conclude that a "medical pathway" is not the best way forward for most children. Also (and we've heard this from many other doctors already), gender confusion should not be looked at without also investigating and addressing other mental health issues.

For most young people, a medical pathway will not be the best way to manage their gender-related distress. For those young people for whom a medical pathway is clinically indicated, it is not enough to provide this without also addressing wider mental health and/or psychosocially challenging problems.

You can browse the entire report for more details, but much of it runs along the same lines. A massive and highly profitable new branch of the medical industry has been launched, but it was undertaken with very little knowledge of the condition being treated or the long-term results of the treatments being prescribed. We seriously need to find some of the smarter people in Congress to gather together some doctors, conduct a full review of this study, and drag the people from the American Medical Association and the Society of Pediatric Psychology in to answer some questions. There is a lot of dubious medical science being cooked up at the moment and a lot of children could wind up being much worse off because of it.

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