Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Pituitary Videos

What does the Pituitary Gland do?
3 min
In April 2011, the physicians of the Emory Pituitary Center hosted a half day seminar for pituitary patients and their families. Over ...
endocrine: Hypothalamic- Pituitary Axis
14 min
Introduction to the Endocrine System: Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis This is an experiment in medical education- constructive ...
Pituitary Tumors & Hot Flashes?
58 sec
Dr. Adriana Ioachimescu answers the question, "Can pituitary tumors cause hot flashes?" Pituitary tumors and disorders, such ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I couldn't walk a few steps without falling

FOR Irene Fox, everything seemed to go wrong all at once. It was 1999 and she thought her life was falling apart. She felt her relationships had deteriorated.
Her face and stomach became bloated. Meanwhile, her arms and legs became very thin. Her blood pressure was extremely high. The sunlight irritated her eyes.
One day the mother-of-two from Bray, Co Wicklow, lost the use of her leg. Then she started falling. "I was losing power in my arms and legs," she recalled.
Irene was 47, so, she reasoned, maybe it was just the menopause. But she went to the doctor and found out that it wasn't. She was sent to St Columcille's Hospital in Loughlinstown for a battery of tests which went on for more than two years.
In 2002 Irene was diagnosed with Cushings Syndrome, following an MRI scan. It emerged that a tumour on her pituitary gland was causing an excess production of cortisol, the stress-relieving hormone. She had an operation in Beaumont Hospital in August 2003.
"Before the operation I couldn't walk for more than a few stops before falling down," she recalls.
Irene's condition did not improve following the operation, however. She discovered she was unable to keep any food down. In October she collapsed and was brought back to Loughlinstown where she stayed until January 2004.
"I was in intensive care for two weeks and then in the general hospital for 10 weeks."
Irene, now aged 59, was told she had to increase the amount of steroids she was on.
"I take hydrocortisone and I wear a hydrocortisone bracelet to inform people that I take it."
These days the mood swings are gone and her eyesight is better. "I walk with a stick but I don't fall any more -- the symptoms were caused by the tumour on the pituitary gland. I'm told that it affects different people in different ways."
There should be more public awareness about the pituitary gland and its functions, she says.
"I feel there should be more awareness of the pituitary gland and what can happen if anything goes wrong -- it's one of these things that people just don't seem to know much about."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Local (Phoenix) author fights back from stroke (and Cushing's)

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Leisel Kurtenbach, 50, knew there was something wrong going on in her body. She just didn't know what.

She was 32 then, and four years of medical testing later her doctor discovered that she had Cushing's Syndrome, and that a tumor was growing on her pituitary gland. The initial plan was to go in for surgery and get it removed. But Kurtenbach had a stroke in the days leading up to it.

Read the rest of this article here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today in Medical History

Synthesized Cortisone

In 1948, Edward Kendall and Philip Hench created the first of the many “miracle drugs," which were actually synthesized hormones, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. Hench and Kendall, who each headed a medical department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized that the adrenal glands play an important role in rheumatoid arthritis. The two noticed that a woman with rheumatoid arthritis had a lessening of symptoms while she was pregnant, and they worked to discover what caused the change. They were able to isolate a hormone in the cortex, or outer part, of the adrenal glands, which they called cortisone.

On Sept. 21, 1948, Hench administered a synthesized version of cortisone developed by Kendall to a patient with arthritis. The two researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1950 for their achievements.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2nd California Pituitary Hormonal Health Symposium, October 22, 2011

Sharmyn McGraw writes:

Hey Everyone!!! I’d like to invite all of you to help me spread the word about our Hormonal & Pituitary Health Symposium Oct. 22, 2011, Santa Monica CA. It’s free and a continental breakfast and box lunch is included and the best part is hearing from our team of neuroendocrine experts and meeting many new friends. To register and for a copy of the events schedule or call Pat Fitzwater at (805) 300-9154 I hope to see many of you there!

Peace and great health all!


Learn about your Master Gland

This symposium aims to educate patients, their families and the public about the importance of the "Master Gland" in health and in illness. 

Topics covered will include: the basics of pituitary gland function and malfunction; signs, symptoms and treatment of hormonal excess and hormonal deficiency; epidemiology of pituitary adenomas and related brain tumors; treatment options for pituitary tumors (acromegaly, Cushing's  disease, prolactinoma and non-functional adenomas, craniopharyngioma) including endonasal endoscopic surgery, radiotherapy and non-surgical therapies.

Additional topics will include optimizing your access to care, insurance issues and finding the appropriate pituitary specialists, as well as information about clinical trials in pituitary hormonal disorders

More information and registration




Finding a cure for Cushing's disease


Cushing's disease is a rare but sometimes fatal hormonal disorder that has few treatment options. Researchers in Los Angeles are using a very unusual little fish to try to find help for people who suffer with the disease.

These tiny tropical striped fish could hold the key to curing the hormonal disorder called Cushing's disease.

Dr. Shlomo Melmed says, "The genetic makeup of zebra fish and our genetic makeup are remarkably similar with very few differences."

In people with Cushing's, a tumor on the pituitary gland causes it to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. That affects blood pressure and metabolism and can lead to diabetes, heart disease and sometimes death.

In the Cedars Sinai lab they're using zebra fish to test up to 300 drugs each week that could fight the tumors. Researchers are able to watch the fish from the first cell of growth.

Dr. Liu says, "The beauty of zebra fish embryos is they're transparent and as we introduce these florescent markers we can follow them."

Green markers show normal pituitary gland growth, and red indicates the tumor. Researchers can then watch how drugs affect tumor growth.

Only about 1 in a 100,000 people suffer with Cushing's disease and almost all of them are women.

Symptoms include a puffy face, sudden weight gain, skin changes and irritability.

Dr. Melmed says, "Our goal is to discover a medical therapy for Cushing's disease a medical therapy to control the tumor growth."

With no drug treatments available for Cushing's, Cedars Sinai scientists hope their research will lead to new options.


More on zebrafish and Cushing's

Sunday, September 18, 2011

(Video) Erin Kelley treated for Cushing's Syndrome

Erin Kelley (erinmk1981 on the message boards) was diagnosed with Cushing's Syndrome, which is a pituitary gland tumor. She was treated with a simple endonasal, skull-base surgery by specialists here at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Erin discusses the challenges associated with Cushing's, and what her experience was like here at Barnes-Jewish.

For more information on Cushing's treatment, please visit

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Today in Medical History

A Growing Knowledge

On this date in 1931, chemists discovered that the pituitary gland contains a hormone, hGH, that controls growth. Overactivity of the pituitary, which sits at the base of the brain, results in gigantism. Underactivity results in dwarfism.

The discovery in 1931 eventually led to physicians treating children suffering from a deficiency of the hormone by injections of hGH obtained from the pituitaries of cadavers. More recently, scientists have discovered a way to produce genetically engineered hGH in bacteria.