Peer-reviewed medical journal retracts study about hormones, surgery helping gender-confused patients
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UNITED STATES, August 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A prestigious U.S. medical journal retracted a study that claimed that “gender reassignment” procedures brought mental health benefits. This happened after its authors admitted that the study found “no advantage to surgery” and that those who have had “gender reassignment” surgery “were more likely to be treated for anxiety disorders.”
The study, published October 4, 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, purported to show that “gender-affirmation” treatment improves transgender mental health. The study utilized data from the Swedish Total Population Register, with information from more than 9.7 million Swedes, or about 95 percent of the country.
The claimed findings from the study led to headlines in mainstream media outlets proclaiming things like “Long-Term Mental Health Benefits of Gender-Affirming Surgery for Transgender Individuals” (American Psychiatric Association), “Sex-reassignment surgery yields long-term mental health benefits” (NBC News), and “Transgender surgery linked with better long-term mental health, study shows” (ABC News).
Earlier this month, the authors of the study issued a correction to their work, conceding that “the results demonstrated no advantage of surgery in relation to subsequent mood or anxiety disorder–related health care.”
Following the correction, the authors have now retracted the study altogether, saying their conclusion that “gender reassignment” procedures brought mental health benefits was “too strong.”
University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regneus pointed out last year that the study “found no mental health benefits for hormonal interventions in this population,” and the claim that “gender reassignment” surgery helped mental health hinged on the outcomes of only three people — from a total dataset of 9.7 million.
In their correction issued earlier this month, the authors of the study noted that gender-confused people who undergo “gender reassignment” surgery are more likely to be treated for anxiety disorders than those who don’t have such surgery.
“Individuals diagnosed with gender incongruence who had received gender-affirming surgery were more likely to be treated for anxiety disorders compared with individuals diagnosed with gender incongruence who had not received gender-affirming surgery,” the correction read.
Writing at The Daily Signal, Dr. Ryan Anderson pointed out that such findings are consistent with previous studies in this area.
“It shouldn’t surprise us that the results of this most recent study — and its correction — show that hormonal and surgical transition procedures don’t bring the promised benefits,” Anderson wrote.
“Even the Obama administration admitted that the best studies do not report improvement after reassignment surgery.”
Anderson cited a 2016 memo from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that stated that “the four best designed and conducted studies that assessed quality of life before and after surgery using validated (albeit non-specific) psychometric studies did not demonstrate clinically significant changes or differences in psychometric test results after GRS (gender reassignment surgery).”
Anderson pointed out that the same Obama-era memo cited a 2011 Swedish study that identified significantly increased suicide rates among those who had “gender reassignment” surgery.
A range of scientific literature indicates that reinforcing a patient’s gender confusion often fails to prevent significant emotional harm up to and including attempted suicide (with or without surgery), because fixating on “gender affirmation” tends to distract from exploring other issues that may be the actual root of a patient’s mental or emotional unrest.
“Given all of these concerns, why the media celebration of the study? Why the ‘consensus’ among the medical elite that transitioning benefits patients? Why the claim that it’s the only acceptable treatment?” Anderson asked.
“Why are children being ‘transitioned’? And why are parents being told puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries are the only way to treat their children?”