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Hospital that promoted disputed puberty blocker study tried to hide mistakes and avoid questions, emails show

  • Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) strategized with Seattle Children’s Hospital to ignore reporters’ questions and refused to clear their study record after UW was found to be spreading lies about its research on transgender youth. .
  • The researchers said their study found that hormone treatments were linked to better mental health for trans youth, but those in their study who took puberty blockers and hormones did not see a significant difference in risk of depression and suicide.
  • “Laurel Duggan is from the Daily Caller, which was launched by Tucker Carlson,” one email read.

The University of Washington (UW) and Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) conspired to cover their tracks after falsely claiming that their study had found that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones improved the mental health of transgender youth, according to emails obtained by Jason Rantz.

UW and SCH spokespeople agreed not to correct inaccurate news articles that were written based on their press release and to ignore inquiries from media outlets they characterized as conservative, including the Daily Caller News Foundation, after freelance journalist Jesse Singal published a comprehensive critique of the study and the UW press release. UW had claimed that its February study found that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones “caused rates of depression to plummet” among trans youth when, according to their own datadepression was only decreased by 1 percentage point for that group, and a causal relationship was not established.

“I cannot stress enough how much coverage the UW was given by the fact that after my initial article, it was *only* the conservative media that stepped up to this scandal,” Singal wrote. “The communications team is explicit about this over and over again in their internal emails. Because The College Fix and The Daily Caller &c are reaching out, they see no need to engage or respond. Lib outlets had no interest in following up on a story about a hospital distorting suicide research.”

Staff acknowledged that the initial press release was inaccurate and discussed their plans to ignore reporters and not proactively address falsehoods UW had spread about their study findings, noting that there was overwhelmingly positive coverage in the press. Conventional, internal emails that Rantz shared with the DCNF revealed. They noted in several emails that the reporters who had reached out were conservative, which some staff members saw as justification for not responding to their queries.

“Laurel Duggan is from the Daily Caller, which was launched by Tucker Carlson,” one email read (Duggan, the author of this article, is an employee of the Daily Caller News Foundation, not the Daily Caller).

Transgender youth who took puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones had a 57% chance of moderate to severe depression at the start of the study and a 56% chance after one year, still eight times higher than the general population in the study. However, the UW researchers concluded that these drugs were associated with greater well-being, and a university news release reclaimed the drugs “caused depression rates to plummet,” substantiating the claim by comparing the control group, which took no puberty blockers or hormones, to the cohort that did: although depression did not significantly decrease in the treatment group, increased in the control group (RELATED: Yes, Doctors Are Performing Sex Change Surgeries on Children)

However, the control group shrank from 92 to six people over the course of the study, and most of those who dropped out of the study were not receiving treatments. Children whose gender dysphoria disappeared or who were doing well mentally would naturally be more likely to lose touch with the clinic, sing he noted, meaning that even the researchers’ conclusions about the control group performing worse than the treatment group are questionable.

Despite the large number of dropouts in their study, the UW researchers concluded that “the risks of depression and suicidality may be mitigated by receiving gender-affirming medications.”

UW modified its online news release on April 8, removing claim (it is that hormones and puberty blockers improved mental health, which can still be seen on archived web pages. the new version of its release, however, it still did not clarify that study participants who took treatments saw virtually no improvement; it also included a quote from a researcher who claims that hormone treatments “save lives” and stated that “gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary adolescents likely mitigated rates of depression and suicidality.”

dr Carrie Mendoza, director of FAIR in Medicine, said the discrepancy between the study’s results and how it was sold to the public raises “serious concerns about the risks of allowing scientific research on complex issues to be guided by political or ideological concerns.” , instead of a search”. For the truth”.

“The treatment of adolescent anxiety and depression is complex,” Mendoza told the DCNF. “Human medical practice requires a rigorous application of the scientific method to provide objective and nuanced information to parents making potentially important decisions for their children.”

A spokesperson for SCH confirmed that the university had corrected its news release and said that UW stands behind the initial study and its design. UW did not respond to DCNF’s request for comment.

This story has been updated with comments from Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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