August 20, 2015
1 min read

NIH funds 5-year study on medical treatment for transgender youth

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The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles recently announced the NIH has awarded $5.7 million for a 5-year, multicenter study on the long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth.

The study, which will begin enrollment in fall 2015, will include a cohort of 280 transgender youth with gender dysphoria who seek medical intervention to align their physical bodies with their gender identity.

Study participants will include younger children early in puberty and older adolescents. Younger children will receive gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists to suspend the puberty process and prevent development of undesired secondary sex characteristics. Adolescents will receive masculinizing or feminizing cross-sex hormones to initiate the puberty process of whatever gender matches their gender identification.

Researchers will evaluate how treatment impacts young children’s mental health, psychological well-being, physiologic parameters and bone health and will document safety of hormone blockers.

Among adolescents, researchers will assess the safety of cross-sex hormones for phenotypic gender transition and evaluate their effects on mental health, psychological well-being and certain metabolic/physiological parameters.

Researchers include Johanna Olson, MD, of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, Stephen Rosenthal, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH, of Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Norman Spack, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“We are pleased to see transgender medicine taking its place on the national health agenda,” Olson said in a press release. “Results of this study will help physicians across the country provide the best and safest possible care for transgender youth.”