Trans research wins endocrinology award two years in a row

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Lachlan Angus accepts his award from Ada Cheung, next to last year's winner Brendan Nolan

Every year The Endocrine Society of Australia, the professional body for Australia’s endocrinologists, holds an annual Science Meeting for leading researchers in the field. The Bryan Hudson Clinical Endocrinology Award, named for the Endocrine Society’s flamboyant founder, is granted to the best presentation given by an early career researcher.

For the second year in a row, this award has been presented to a scientist working in the area of trans health.

Dr Lachlan Angus receiving his award

Lachlan Angus’ research compared two common anti-androgens – Cyproterone and Spironolactone – for their effect on breast development. As the two drugs work very differently, Dr Angus speculated that they might produce different outcomes. The randomised control double-blind trial assigned 55 trans women to take either Cyproterone or Spironolactone for 6 months, measuring their breast growth through 3d scans and breast-chest distance. His results show that both drugs perform equally well for breast development. Motivated by the lack of good research in this area, Dr Angus’ study is one of the few that focuses on practical outcomes for trans patients and is guided by their desired outcomes.

Dr Brendan Nolan

The 2022 award was presented to Dr Brendan Nolan for his research on the effect of early access to testosterone on the mental health of trans patients. His study showed that people who received immediate treatment showed better mental health outcomes than patients who waited 3 months to receive medication (a standard waiting time to see an endocrinologist). His patients reported a significant decrease in gender dysphoria, depression, and suicidality, suggesting that timely access to medication can be a significant factor for improving quality of life for trans people.

In interviews with Hormones Australia, both researchers emphasise the importance of this award for boosting the profile of trans health research and demonstrating an acknowledgement of its importance. Both Dr Angus and Dr Nolan stressed the lack of good research in this area, and the urgent need for more rigorous science. While trans health research had previously been seen as niche or less respectable than other areas of endocrinology, the awarding of the Bryan Hudson Clinical Endocrinology Award two years in a row shows a new regard for this important area of science.

More to explore

Research call for trans people who have been incarcerated in Australian prisons

Hello everyone! We recently had someone send us this and we wanted to help share a call for participants for a research project on the experiences of trans people in Australian prisons. They’re looking for people who are over 18, who identify anywhere outside of cis, and who have spent time in an Australian prison at any time in the past. Participation includes a 1-2 hour one-on-one interview with Charlie (research team) and it is paid.

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