The Science on Brain Development Rebukes Those Pushing Gender Transition on Kids

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently considering publishing regulations that will push for potentially irreversible medical and surgical interventions for people with gender dysphoria in the name of health care. In April, HHS Assistant Secretary Rachel L. Levine stated “gender affirming care is medical care” and included children and adolescents in that equation.

Levine also reaffirmed a principle articulated by Hippocrates that physicians should do no harm. Can a physician provide interventions like potentially sterilizing hormones and surgeries for children and adolescents without doing harm? Research on adolescent brain development and decision-making indicates these two concepts are contradictory.

Our society is encouraging adolescents to make crucial decisions with lifelong consequences as research continues to document the immaturity of the adolescent brain. It does not utilize the strategizing and planning center, the prefrontal cortex, in the same manner as adults.

The American College of Pediatricians, of which I am a board member, just published a new position statement entitled “The Teenage Brain: Under Construction” with research showing that adolescents’ brains are not developed enough to make sound decisions, and this should inform potential medical and surgical interventions on minors with gender dysphoria because of their lifelong consequences.

Neuroscientists studying decision-making have found adolescents are much more likely to rely upon emotions and peer pressure and less likely to consider future consequences. Researchers now talk about two systems for decision-making in the brain: a socioemotional system and a cognitive-control system. (Read more from “The Science on Brain Development Rebukes Those Pushing Gender Transition on Kids” HERE)

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