A taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that drew the conclusion that teens who receive puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones have greater life satisfaction has come under fire.
The study, published at the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), states researchers from the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago sought to investigate the psychosocial functioning of 315 transgender and nonbinary young people, aged 12-20 years, over a period of two years after “gender-affirming hormones” (GAH), i.e., testosterone or estradiol, had been administered for gender dysphoria.
According to the researchers, over the two-year period after beginning puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones, teens experienced an increase in expressions of happiness and life satisfaction, while depression and anxiety symptoms decreased.
However, the researchers reported as well:
The most common adverse event was suicidal ideation (in 11 participants [3.5%]); death by suicide occurred in 2 participants.
“In this 2-year study involving transgender and nonbinary youth, GAH improved appearance congruence and psychosocial functioning,” the researchers concluded.
Rocklin, California-based endocrinologist Dr. Michael Laidlaw told The Star News Network “the government was warned about this study in our letter from 2019.”
Laidlaw referred to his letter sent to Jerry Menikoff, M.D., J.D., director of the Office for Human Research Protections, by himself and Will Malone, M.D., medical director at St. Luke’s Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinic in Twin Falls, Idaho, on behalf of the Kelsey Coalition, a national group of parents whose children suddenly began identifying as transgender.
The letter, obtained by The Star News Network, stated:
In 2015, the National Institutes of Health awarded a five-year, $5.7 million dollar grant to a consortium of four pediatric gender clinics for an observational study that purportedly will “evaluate longitudinal outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth and will provide essential evidence-based data on the physiological and psychosocial effects and safety of treatments. Given the numerous deleterious side effects of these medications that we will describe, and the lack of FDA approval for cross-sex hormones even in adult populations, the likelihood of serious harms accruing in these young patients is very great.
“The medical protocol for this study involves treating transgender-identifying children who are otherwise perfectly healthy with powerful drugs that radically modify their endocrine systems, and indeed, their entire young bodies,” the letter continued, explaining that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones “negatively impact fertility, sexual function, cardiovascular health, bone health, and brain development.”
“This study has no control group and is not randomized,” Laidlaw and Malone added. “It is simply an observational experiment on otherwise unremarkable, healthy children with confusion about their sexed bodies.”
“Because this study poses irreversible medical harms (including infertility) to children, we request an immediate moratorium and investigation,” the two endocrinologists wrote. “Thank you for your prompt attention to this important and urgent matter.”
“But they blew us off,” Laidlaw said. “Now two kids have died by suicide and the rest have been harmed in other ways by high dose opposite sex hormones, likely permanently. When will this be investigated by authorities?”
Diana Bianchi, M.D., director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), responded to Laidlaw that, prior to funding the study, “the application went through a rigorous peer review process, receiving a highly meritorious score in the study section, indicating that the scientific community considered that the proposed work would have a high impact on the medical community.”
Bianchi further justified funding the study:
The application was also reviewed by NICHD’s Advisory Council. My predecessor at NICHD, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, made the final funding decision. To ensure that appropriate progress is being made and appropriate patient protections are in place, NICHD scientific staff have rigorously reviewed the grant each year.
The study’s conclusion was touted on Twitter by controversial child psychiatrist and LGBTQ activist Dr. Jack Turban.
New cohort study out today in @NEJM finds improvements in anxiety, depression, appearance congruence, and life satisfaction after gender-affirming medical care for #trans youth.https://t.co/ZPHif1apGm
— Jack Turban MD 🏳️⚧️🧠🏳️🌈🩺 (@jack_turban) January 18, 2023
In August, Turban published what was revealed to be a “deeply flawed” study in Pediatrics, the flagship journal of the leftwing American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), that argued the surge in young people claiming to identify as transgender is not due to “social contagion” or the influence of the culture, spread quickly via social media.
🚨We have a new paper out today in @aap_peds🚨
We examined 2 hypotheses:
1. That youth identify as #trans due to "social contagion" & adolescents assigned female are more susceptible
2. That youth identify as trans to flee LGB-related stigma
Neither was supported by data. 🧵
— Jack Turban MD 🏳️⚧️🧠🏳️🌈🩺 (@jack_turban) August 3, 2022
However, as pediatrician Dr. Julia Mason and Manhattan Institute fellow Leor Sapir warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Turban’s “deeply flawed” study “likely couldn’t have survived a reasonable peer-review process.”
Even those who support “gender-affirming care” noted Turban’s research was “shoddy” and “undermined their cause,” the authors wrote, adding, nevertheless “the media have promoted his work.”
One flaw noted by Mason and Sapir was that Turban used a “flawed sex statistic” in his study, citing “three sources suggesting that respondents interpret ‘sex’ as ‘sex assigned at birth’ – even though none of those studies says anything of the sort.”
I'd rather be hated for speaking the truth than loved for perpetuating a lie. I don't care if people think I'm a grifter. The tides are already turning, & in a few years everyone will be able to see I was right, as were others speaking out against the gender affirmation movement.
— Cat Cattinson 🦎 (@catcattinson) January 18, 2023
According to the Daily Mail, “detransitioner” Cat Cattinson, 30, a singer and musician from northern California, who began identifying as male when she was 13, but then returned to her female identity, said she has been harassed online by LGBTQ activists for her detransition story.
“I’ve seen the level of hate really escalate to the point that any time a new de-transitioner shares their story online, they get dogpiled by thousands of trans activists, bullied, ridiculed, and of course death threats,” she said.
“For every de-transitioner with a public platform, the new trend has been to call us liars and grifters and just try to invalidate everything we say,” Cattinson added.
Patrick Brown, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, also told the Daily Mail the two-year time frame in the newly-published NEJM study was not enough time to observe how the hormone drugs affect young people in the long term.
“Two years is far too short a time to have any true evaluation of these kinds of interventions that have long-term consequences,” he said.
“It’s too soon to tell which participants might experience regret over something life-altering without fully understanding its costs.”
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