A team of scientists has discovered differences in the brains of transgender people.
The researchers, at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain, believe their technique could help doctors identify transgender people at an early age, giving them more options for treatment, such as delaying the onset of puberty.
According to New Scientist, the study looked at the white matter of the brain and its structural differences in men, women and female-to-male transgender people.
They used MRI scans on the brains of 18 trans men who had not started hormone treatment with 24 men and 19 women.
The results showed that trans men – those born biologically female but living as male – had white matter where it is usually found in male brains.
This is thought to be the first time that scientists have been able to show that trans men’s brains are masculinised.
In another study, they compared the brains of 18 trans women – born male but living as female – with 19 men and 19 women.
The trans women’s brains showed that the structure of the white matter was halfway between a typical male and a typical female brain.
Antonio Guillamon, who led the research, said: “Their brains are not completely masculinised and not completely feminised, but they still feel female.”
The study will be published in Volume 45, Issue 2 of the Journal of Psychiatric Research next month.