A Belgian neurologist in a new study has found that the brain activity in transgender people is similar to that of cisgender people, more of their gender than their assigned sex at birth. Julie Bakker the led research at the University of Liege which included more than 160 MRI scans of transgender people who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria; the study involved children and teenagers. The study also included measuring brain microstructures using diffusion tensor imaging.
The scans were then compared to individuals of comparable age who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The study did find that transgender boys’ brain activity resembled cisgender boys’ and girls’ resembled cisgender girls’. It is believed that the technique could be used to assist transgender children at an earlier age.
“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,” said Bakker. Furthermore, she stated: “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.”
The results of the study were presented at the European Society of Endocrinology’s yearly meeting and appear to be in line with previous neurological studies that showed transgender adults appear to have similar brain structures to cisgender people of their gender.