This month’s cover story deals with the topic of traumatic brain injuries and how they are often the cause of a variety of endocrine-related disorders that are often overlooked by primary care physicians. In “Head Cases” on page 9, Glenda Fauntleroy reports how these injuries can cause everything from growth problems, fatigue, weight gain, low blood pressure, and loss of muscle mass to reduced libido and amenorrhea. Unfortunately, the problem is that healthcare providers who treat these injuries don’t consider the long-lasting effects of the trauma, especially on children. Johns Hopkins University neuroendocrinologist Gary Wand, MD, says that emergency room staff are usually thinking more about concussions and all the “old school” attributes that go along with them such as headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. “They’re thinking the kids are going to get better, and they’re just not aware that you can have these hormonal changes,” he explains.
Delayed puberty has been puzzling doctors for years, especially when it comes to determining the exact cause. “Arrested Development,” by Kelly Horvath (p. 12), shows that in some cases, slowed sexual maturation can be a sign of a systemic illness, endocrinopathy, or even psychosocial deprivation. Unfortunately, there is no biochemical test that can definitively distinguish constitutional delay of growth and puberty from other causes, and physicians must rely on long-term observation of the patient.
On page 17, associate editor Derek Bagley writes about a topic that many physicians may find obtrusive and bothersome: online review sites. “Word of Modem” explores this rating system that has gotten a lot of attention lately when some consumers’ negative online reviews have led to legal action. Hopefully, you haven’t had to go that far, but the article is loaded with tips and ideas on how to deal with this new grading system that you can use to your — and your practice’s — advantage.
If any researchers out there are interested in coming in under budget while still finding the right lab equipment, you might want to skip over to “Best Buys” on page 20. Melissa Mapes details the means and methods of finding items for your lab that are a bit off the beaten path like craigslist, eBay, and even donations. Cheap equipment is great; free equipment is even better and will keep your lab budget in check.
Don’t forget that ENDO 2015 is three months earlier than normal, taking place in sunny San Diego, Calif., March 5 – 8. It’s never too soon to register, so go to www.endocrine.org/endo-2015 and sign up today.
Mark A. Newman,
Managing Editor, Endocrine News