A new study says that the brain waves of transgender people matches their gender identity and not their biological sex.
Belgian neurologist Julie Bakker of the University of Liege is in headlines because of new information she’s released.
Bakker conducted a study in which her team used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests to examine the brains of participants. The brain was exposed to a steroid. Then, the gray and white matter was measured by using a technique called tensor imaging.
As for the participants, transgender men and women in their childhood and in their teens were tested. So too were cis-gender men and women of the same age (who acted as the controls).
The results found that 160 participants with gender dysphoria, the medical term for experiencing discomfort or distress because one’s biological sex does not fit their gender identity aka being transgender, had similar brain structures and neurological patterns as people of their aligning gender identity.
On top of that, the study found that those differences were detectable during childhood.
Bakker presented these findings at this years meeting of the annual European Society of Endocrinology gathering, according to the Telegraph.
While some may fear that this scientific finding will get in the way of a person’s right to choose over their gender identity, Bakker and her colleagues say this could open doors for new medical possibilities for transgender people.
For instance, when children feel that they are transgender, they either go through psychotherapy or take hormones to have puberty delayed until they are older and everyone’s sure it isn’t a phase.
This research could help make gender dysphoria detectable.
As Bakker said after the presentation:
“Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.”
“We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”