Scientists Uncover Cause Of Gender Dysphoria

These days, gender dysphoria is becoming an increasingly common condition, although the numbers still aren’t as high as other more known chronic conditions. Occurring in one in 30,000 male-assigned births and one in 100,000 female-assigned births, the condition happens when a person lives while experiencing a mismatch between their assigned gender at birth and their true sense of gender identity.

Thankfully, a new study that has recently reviewed decades of previous research has revealed that a potential cause of the condition may have been overlooked for the longest time. Per the authors, this could potentially open the door for better and effective therapy for people who are suffering from the said condition.

According to University of Michigan researcher Stephen Gliske, this is because for the longest time, scientists have focused on the difference between the female brain and the male brain, most especially their anatomical differences. Per the theory that’s been followed for quite a while, people with gender dysphoria have brains that are similar to the brains of the opposite sex more than their assigned gender at birth.

Because of these, researchers have overlooked the ways that a brain functions for itself, such as how its different parts network and interact with each other. Per Gliske’s paper, the condition may be caused by brain networks and how they impact one’s sense of gender identity.

“Many of the brain differences associated with gender dysphoria are located in the distress, body-ownership and social behavior networks. Rather than focusing on whether the brain regions are masculine or feminine, this new theory explains how the function of these networks impacts one’s sense of their own gender,” Gliske explained in his recent peer-reviewed article, which was published Monday in the scientific journal eNeuro.

At the moment, there are around 700,000 transgender people living in the United States that can potentially feel the effects of gender dysphoria affect their mental health and stability, which can add to the discrimination that they’re already getting.

Per Gliske, rethinking how brain dysphoria works can potentially lead to a new and less invasive way to help treat it.

Gender equality A picture of both male and female genders. Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke/Pixabay