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Associate Professor Ada Cheung, 2023 Vanguard Grant

Heart effects of hormone therapy in transgender individuals

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Heart effects of hormone therapy in transgender individuals

Associate Professor Ada Cheung, University of Melbourne

2023 Vanguard Grant - Two Year

Years funded: 2024 - 2025

Globally, there is an increasing number of transgender people taking hormone therapy to help them feel more comfortable in their bodies. Hormone therapy improves mental health, reduces distress and is often taken lifelong. However, due to stigma, there is a profound lack of research in trans health. Hormone therapy changes physical traits such as skin, hair, muscle, and fat distribution. But, there is no research on how heart function or heart size is affected. This is important because some studies show that trans women and men are at a higher risk of heart attacks. There are also implications for elite sport as heart function can affect athletic performance. Using start-of-the-art cardiac MRI imaging, we aim to measure the impact of hormone therapy on the heart in trans women and men over 12 months compared to the general population. Findings will help doctors develop strategies to improve the heart health of trans people and will also guide policy decisions around the inclusion of trans women in the female category of sport.

Last updated12 March 2024