As of right now, when children complain of gender dysphoria, they are usually sent to a doctor to undergo psychotherapy. But that simple process could soon change drastically, and in turn has the potential to cause a lot of controversy.
Scientists took 160 participants who said they felt they were in the wrong body, and found that their neurological patterns closely resembled that of the gender they wanted to embrace.
The team used MRI tests and diffusion tensor imaging to measure grey and white matter within the brain upon exposure to steroids. Their studies found that biological males with gender dysphoria had similar brain structure to those of biological females, and vice-versa.
According to this study that was recently presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting in Barcelona, these neurological differences could be detectable as early as childhood.
But what does this study mean in terms of the gender debate? Will it just fuel even more heated discussions of personal choice VS medical definition?
According to Julie Bakker, a professor at the University of Liege in Belgium who led the study, no matter the controversy, this technology has the potential to serve as a support system for those in need of help and answers.
"We will be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously."
Either way, this research discovery shows that doctors could have a new tool to offer better advice and results to patients in need of help.