We kick off 2015 with a cover story on a relatively rare disorder that causes a disproportionately large number of burdens on the patient: Hypoparathyroidism. Statistics from the Hypoparathyroidism Association show that roughly 100,000 people in the U.S. suffer from this affliction and have a wide range of side effects including job loss, hospital visits, and general negative impacts on their quality of life for an average of 13 hours a day. Since this disorder is so rare, there is a perceived empathy deficit among physicians. “Th e more accurate portrayal of the problem here is that because hypoparathyroidism is a rare disease, most clinicians, including many endocrinologists, have no real direct experience caring for these patients,” Tamara J. Vokes, MD, professor, University of Chicago Department of Medicine and director, Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Clinic, Chicago, tells Kelly Horvath in “Hypoparathyroidism: Th e Treatment Paradox” on page 9.
A different sort of treatment challenge is discussed by Glenda Fauntleroy in “Breaking the Habit” on page 12 as she broaches the topic of treating patients who are battling diabetes and drug abuse. To nobody’s surprise, the likelihood of poor glycemic control is signifi cantly increased among drug users, but Susan Herzlinger Botein, MD, at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston says it’s important to not scold the patient for his or her addiction. “My general approach is to not focus on a value judgment of the drug use because that’s neither here nor there but to look hard at the way it’s affecting their diabetes because that’s why they’re seeing me,” she says.
Full disclosure time: My mother was a registered nurse so I have an extremely biased view of nurses and the nursing profession. In a word, I think they’re awesome. You probably do, too; that’s why we’ve included an article that gives some examples on keeping your nurses happy called “What Nurses Want” (p. 16). The good news is that it’s much easier than you think it is. The better news is that you’re probably already doing what you need to be doing to make sure your nurses are satisfied working with you.
For anyone spending their days and nights in the lab conducting research, we have some very relevant pointers for the care and feeding of your lab animals — literally, in this case — courtesy of “Animal Kingdom” by Melissa Mapes on page 18. From the best ways to acquire them to proper ways to euthanize them, the article is a great primer on the care for these littlest lab assistants.
I hope you had a great holiday season and a happy new year, and I look forward to seeing many of you at ENDO 2015 in San Diego. If you haven’t registered, be sure to go to www.endocrine.org/endo-2015 today.
Mark A. Newman,
Editor, Endocrine News