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Found 88 results

  1. Doc Karen will be our guest in an interview on BlogTalk Radio Friday December 2 at 11:00 AM eastern. The Call-In number for questions or comments is (323) 642-1665 . The archived interview will be available through iTunes Podcasts (Cushie Chats) or BlogTalkRadio. While you're waiting, there are currently 90 other past interviews to listen to! Karen’s Story Life was good! In fact, life was great! I was married to the love of my life. We had a beautiful little girl. My husband and I had both earned our graduate degrees. I earned my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and was growing my clinical practice. I loved my work! In October, 2006, my life was turned upside down when I gained 30 pounds in 30 days! I knew this was not normal at all. I sought answers but my doctor kept insisting that I wasn’t eating the right foods, that I wasn’t exercising hard enough, and finally that it was genetic. However, I was always a thin person, I ate pretty healthy foods, and I was pretty active. Red flags became even greater when my physician put me on prescription weight loss drugs and I STILL gained another 30 pounds. I knew my body and I knew something was wrong but I had no one to validate what was going on. In January, 2010, to my surprise, I learned that I was miraculously pregnant with our second daughter. I was so sick during that pregnancy and, again, my doctors couldn’t figure out why. My OBGYN was very supportive, yet so concerned. Her solution was to put me on bed rest. I became so ill that she told me that “my only job was to sit still and wait to have a baby”. I did give birth to a healthy baby girl four weeks early. Little did I know, then, how much of a miracle she was. During the latter part of my pregnancy, while flipping through channels on television, I came across a Cushing’s episode on the health TV show, “Mystery Diagnosis”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRElhhDq_j4 I knew right away that this diagnosis fit everything I had been experiencing: years of weird and unexplained symptoms, gaining 150 pounds for no reason, an onset of diabetes, high blood pressure, and an overall sense of doom. You see, my friends and family witnessed me go from a vibrant young Clinical Psychologist in practice, to someone whose health deteriorated due to the symptoms of Cushing’s, as I tried for many years to get answers from professionals. As I continued to eat a healthy, 1000 calorie per day diet, engage in exercise with multiple personal trainers, and follow through with referrals to consult with dietitians; I continued to gain weight at a rate of 5 pounds per week and experience rapidly declining health. Finally, after watching that Cushing’s episode of Mystery Diagnosis, I found my answer! Ultimately, I sought the expertise of and treatment from a team of experts at the Seattle Pituitary Center in Seattle, WA. I had brain surgery in Seattle on November 16th, 2011. I want to tell you how I found the people who helped save my life… On June 9, 2011, I went to my first MAGIC conference. I had never heard of them but someone on one of the online support groups told me about it. At that time, I was working but was very, very sick. We suspected at that time that I had been sick for years! My local endocrinologist was far from a Cushing’s expert. After watching the Cushing’s episode of Mystery Diagnosis, I told the same endocrinologist who had misdiagnosed me for years that I had found my answer. He swore that there was “literally no possible way that I had Cushing’s Disease!” He stated that my “hump wasn’t big enough”, “my stretch marks were not purple enough” and that “Cushing’s patients do not have children!” I told him that I was NOT leaving his office until he started testing me. He finally caved in. To his surprise, I was getting abnormal labs back. At that time, there was evidence of a pit tumor but it wasn't showing up on an MRI. So, I had my IPSS scheduled. An IPSS stands for Inferior Petrosal Sinus Sampling. It is done because 60 % of Cushing’s based pituitary tumors are so small that they do not show up on an MRI. Non Cushing’s experts do not know this so they often blow patients off, even after the labs show a high level of ACTH in the brain through blood work. An overproduction of the hormone ACTH from the pituitary communicates to the adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol. Well, the IPSS procedure is where they put catheters up through your groin through your body up into your head to draw samples to basically see which side of your pituitary the extra hormone is coming from, thus indicating where the tumor is. U of C is the only place in IL that does it. So, back to the MAGIC convention; my husband and I went to this conference looking for answers. We were so confused and scared! Everyone, and I mean everyone, welcomed us with opened arms like we were family! There were brilliant presenters there, including an endocrinologist named Dr. William Ludlam. At that time, he was the director at the Seattle Pituitary Center in Seattle, WA. He is a true Cushing’s expert. Since then, he left in January, 2012 to have a significant impact toward the contribution of research of those impacted by Cushing’s Syndrome. His position was taken over by another brilliant endocrinologist, Dr. Frances Broyles. I was scheduled to get an IPSS at U of C on June 28th, 2011 to locate the tumor. Two days after the IPSS, I began having spontaneous blackouts and ended up in the hospital for 6 days. The docs out here had no clue what was happening and I was having between 4-7 blackouts a day! My life was in danger and they were not helping me! We don't know why, but the IPSS triggered something! But, no one wanted to be accountable so they told me the passing out, which I was not doing before, was all in my head being triggered by psychological issues. They did run many tests. But, they were all the wrong tests. I say all the time; it’s like going into Subway and ordering a turkey sandwich and giving them money and getting a tuna sandwich. You would be mad! What if they told you, “We gave you a sandwich!” Even if they were to give you a dozen sandwiches; if it wasn’t turkey, it wouldn’t be the right one. This is how I feel about these tests that they ran and said were all “normal”. The doctors kept telling us that they ran all of these tests so they could cover themselves. Yet, they were not looking at the right things, even though, I (the patient) kept telling them that this was an endocrine issue and had something to do with my tumor! Well, guess how good God is?!!!! You see, Dr. Ludlam had given me his business card at the conference, which took place two weeks prior to the IPSS. I put it away for a while. But, something kept telling me to pull the card out and contact him. I am crying just thinking about it, Lord! So, prior to my IPSS, I wrote Dr. Ludlam an e mail asking him some questions. At that time, he told me to send him ALL of my records including labs. I sent him 80 pages of records that day. He called me back stating that he concurred with all of the evidence that I definitely have Cushing’s Disease from a pituitary source. He asked me what I planned to do and I told him that I was having the IPSS procedure done in a few days at the University of Chicago. He told me once I got my results to contact him. Fast forward, I ended up in the hospital with these blackouts after my IPSS. The doctors, including MY local endocrinologist told me there was no medical evidence for my blackouts. In fact, he told the entire treatment team that he even doubted if I even had a tumor! However, this is the same man who referred me for the IPSS in the first place! I was literally dying and no one was helping me! We reached out to Dr. Ludlam in Seattle and told him of the situation. He told me he knew exactly what was going on. For some reason, there was a change in my brain tumor activity that happened after my IPSS. No one, to this day, has been able to answer the question as to whether the IPSS caused the change in tumor activity. The tumor, for some reason, began shutting itself on and off. When it would shut off, my cortisol would drop and would put me in a state of adrenal insufficiency, causing these blackouts! Dr. Ludlam said as soon as we were discharged, we needed to fly out to Seattle so that he could help me! The hospital discharged me in worse condition then when I came in. I had a blackout an hour after discharge! But get this...The DAY the hospital sent me home saying that I did not have a pit tumor, my IPSS results were waiting for me! EVIDENCE OF TUMOR ON THE LEFT SIDE OF MY PITUITARY GLAND!!! Two days later, Craig and I were on a plane to Seattle. I had never in my life been to Seattle, nor did I ever think I would go. We saw the man that God used to save my life, Dr. William Ludlam, the same man who we had met at the MAGIC conference for the first time one month prior! He put me on a combo of medications that would pull me out of crisis. Within one month, my blackouts had almost completely stopped! Unfortunately, we knew this was a temporary fix! He was treating me to carry me over to surgery. You see, his neurosurgeon, Dr. Marc Mayberg was just as amazing. He is one of the top neurosurgeons in the US! Statistically, he has one of the highest success rates! The problem was that our insurance refused to pay for surgery with an expert outside of IL, stating that I could have surgery anywhere in IL! Most people don’t know that pituitary surgeries are very complicated and need the expertise of a “high volume center” which is where they do at least 50 of these surgeries per year. Dr. Mayberg has performed over 5,000 of these surgeries! By this time, we had learned that we need to fight for the best care! It was what would give me the best chance at life! We thought I would have to wait until January when our insurance would change, to see if I could get the surgery I so desperately needed! I was holding on by a thread! We began appealing our insurance. At the time the MAGIC foundation had an insurance specialist who was allowed to help us fight our insurance. Her name is Melissa Callahan and she took it upon herself to fight for us as our patient advocate. It was a long and hard battle! But...we finally WON!!!! On November 16th, 2011, Dr. Marc Mayberg found that hidden tumor on the left side of my pituitary gland! He removed the tumor along with 50% of my pituitary gland. Recovery was a difficult process. They say that it takes about one full year to recover after pituitary surgery for Cushing’s. I was grateful to be in remission, nonetheless. However, about one year after my brain surgery, the Cushing’s symptoms returned. After seven more months of testing that confirmed a recurrence of the Cushing’s, I was cleared for a more aggressive surgery. This time, I had both of my adrenal glands removed as a last resort. By then, we had learned that I had hyperplasia, which is an explosion of tumor cells in my pituitary. It only takes one active cell to cause Cushing’s. Therefore, I could have potentially had several more brain surgeries and the disease would have kept coming back over and over. As a last resort, my adrenal glands were removed so that no matter how much these cells try to cause my adrenals to produce excessive amounts of cortisol; the glands are not there to receive the message. As a result, I am Adrenally Insufficient for life, which means that my body cannot produce the life sustaining hormone, cortisol, at all. I had my Bilateral Adrenalectomy by world renowned BLA surgeon, Dr. Manfred C., in Wisconsin on August 21st, 2013. I traded Cushing’s Disease for Addison’s Disease, one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life. However, I knew that I would die with Cushing’s. Recovery from my last surgery was difficult and involved weaning down to a maintenance dose of steroid to replace my cortisol. Now, on a maintenance dose; I still have to take extra cortisol during times of physical or emotional stress to prevent my body from going into shock. I promised a long time ago that I would pay it forward...give back because so much has been given to me. This is why I have committed my life to supporting the Cushing’s community. I post videos on YouTube as a way of increasing awareness. My channel can be found at http://www.YouTube.com/drnkarenthames Additionally, I am working on a Cushing’s documentary. Please like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Hug.A.Cushie Thank you for taking the time to read my story!
  2. Fabiana had transsphenoidal surgery (pituitary) July 30th 2004. She had a recurrence after seven years of being Cushing's free. A second pituitary surgery on 10/26/2011 was unsuccessful. Another Golden Oldie, this bio was last updated 9/12/2015 Fabiana will be our guest in an interview on BlogTalk Radio Wednesday, October 21 at 6:00 PM eastern. The Call-In number for questions or comments is (657) 383-0416. The archived interview will be available after 7:00 PM Eastern through iTunes Podcasts (Cushie Chats) or BlogTalkRadio. While you're waiting, there are currently 88 other past interviews to listen to! ~~~ Well it has taken me a year to write this bio...and just to give some hope to those of you just going thru this process...I have to say that after surgery I have not felt better! I am back to who i always knew I was....the depression and anxiety is gone and I am living life like a 24 year old should! I guess it all started when i was sixteen (hindsight is 20-20 i guess). My periods stopped i was tired all the time and the depression started. We all kind of just chalked it up to being sixteen. But my mom insisted something was not right. we talked with my gyno...who said nothing was wrong, I had a fungus on my head (my hair was getting really thin) and sometimes girls who had normal periods (in my case three years of normal periods) just go awry. My mom wasnt hearing that and demanded a script for an endo. I went....he did blood work...and metioned cushings. But nothing came back definitive...so they put me on birthcontol and gave me some hormones and the chushings was never mentioned again because that all seemed to work. As time went on my depression got worse, the shape of my body started to change-my face and stomach was the most noticeable- and my energy level kept going down. I kept going back to the doctors asking to be tested for mono..or something. I went to a psycologist....but i knew there was no reason for my depression. Two of them told me "i had very good insight" and that I didnt need them. I started getting more anxiety..especially about going out socially. High school ended and my typical optimistic personality started to decline. I put on a good act to my friends but my family was seeing me break down all the time. I went away for college (all the while gaining weight). My sophmore year I had a break down..I called my family crying that i needed help. I couldnt beat my depression. I didnt drink in college because i knew that would mean instant weight gain, i barely went out...i exercised everyday..hard....i joined weight watchers...i stuck with it. I was at 103 lbs....that crept up to 110...that crept up to 117...each time my weight goal would be "ohh if i could just get back to 108..112...115" with each weight gain my original weight goal would get higher and higher. Internally i felt like I was constantly under a black cloud..i knew there was no reason why i shoudl feel this way..i was doing great in school, i had a supportive family, an amazing boyfriend and great friends...why was i depressed? I was becoming emotionally draining to the people closest to me...I would go home a lot on the weekends...i was diagnosed with PMDS....like severe PMS..and was given an antidepresant...i hated it it made me feel like a zombie...i stopped taking it and just made it apoint to work on fighting the depression....and the weight gain. When i was done college i was about 120 lbs. My face was getting rounder and rounder..i was noticing more hair on my face and arms...and a hump between my shoulder blades and the bottom of my neck. My mom saw a tv show about Polycystic ovarian syndrome and felt that maybe that was what was going on with me...i went to my PCP with this and she said it was possible and that i should to talk to my gyno....I am 4'8 and at the time weighing close to 125..i talked to my gyno and she said I was not heavy..that i was just "itailan" ..i told her my periods were getting abnormal again even w/the birthcontrol and that i was so tired all the time and my arms and legs ached. I also told her that i was bruising very easily...and that the weight gain would not stop despite my exercising and following the atikins diet very strickly for over 6 weeks. My boyfriend and I decided to try the diet together..he lost 35 llbs in 6 weeks..i lost NOTHING! I went back to my PCP who ordered an ultra sound of my ovaries.....NOTHING.(i kept thinking i was going crazy and that it was all in my head)....she also decided to do some blood work...and as i was walking out the door she said.."you know what..i am going to give you this 24hr urine test too. Just so that we cover everything". I just kept thinking please let something come back ....please dont let this be all my fault...please dont let this be all in my head.....please dont let me be crazy. When i got the test results back it turned out that the 24hr urine test was the one test i needed to get on the right track to finding what was wrong. My cortisol level was 3x's the normal. I went to an endo...by the time i got to the endocronoligist i was up to 130...i could not work a full day without needing a full day of sleep and my body was aching beyond description. I was crying all the time...in my room...and was becoming more and more of a recluse...i would only hang out with my boyfriend in our houses. I looked my symptoms up on the internet and saw cushings...that was it! I went to the endo and told him..i think it is cushings....he said he had only saw it one other time and that he wanted to do more tests. I got CAT scans, x-rays, MRI's....my adrenals my pituitary my lungs....he did a CRH stimulation test which was getting blood work done every fifteen minutes for 90minutes....it took weeks to get that test scheduled..no one had ever heard of it and therefore did not know how to do it.....finally after 3 months of tests my dr. felt he had enough evidence to diagnos me with cushings disease (tumor on my pituitary) I was diagnosed in March of 2004. By this time i was about 137 lbs i had to work part time (i am an occupational therapist for children..i do home visits....i could not make it thru a whole day) In April i had to change to office work...i could not lift the children and i could barely get up off the floor. I have to say i was one of the lucky people who worked for people who were very supportive and accomidating...my boss was very willing to work with me and willing to hold my job for me. July 30th 2004 i finally had transphenodial surgery to remove my tumor (they went thru my lip and nose because they felt my nose was too small). It is now over 1 year later....i am down to 108 lbs, i have so much energy...no depression....and i dont mind looking at myself in the mirror...i am enjoying my friends and my boyfriend...(who stayed with me thru it all) And my family. I feel healthy mentally, emptionally, and physically. And i just got back into my size 2 jeans!!! It was a crappy time...(as i am sure you all can atest to) but i learned a lot.....most importantly i was bombarded by good wishes and prayers....friends requested masses for me...a nun in brazil prayed for me...people who i never thought i touched their lives...took the time to wish me well...send an email..or call....I got to experience the wonderful loving nature of human beings and i was lucky to be supported by my family (my mom, dad, and two younger brothers) and my boyfriend throughout this entire tough journey. This experience taught me to realize the strength i have as well as to appreciate the good and the bad in life. I was on hydrocortizone for about 8 months...i was lucky that my tumor was in its own little sack so my pituitary gland was not touched. In the end in took about 7 years to diagnose me..i think that if the dr. at 16 would have pursued the cushings idea nothing would have been found because it took so long for my symptoms to really peak...needless to say i love my PCP and my endo ..and that i changed gyno's... I just want to let anyone out there going thru this disease to know..you are not alone....and to take each day is stride...when you need help ask for it....and that this road can lead to a happy ending. God Bless! ps- it is ok to feel bad about what you are going thru...it is a tough thing to endure...and when the docotors tell you there is noting wrong.....follow your gut...and you keep searching for the doctor that will listen... If there is anyone in the philadelphis of south jersey area who needs someone to talk to please feel free to email me... .i will help you out the best i can! Update November 6, 2011 Well- here is an update, after seven years of being Cushings free it has returned. With in those seven years I married my college boyfriend and we now have a son- Nicholas who will be 2 in Decemeber. It has been a blessed and wonderful seven years. However right around when my son was turning 1 I started to notice symptoms again. Increase facial hair, the whole "roundness" of my body, buffalo hump. I decided I was going to work out hard, eat right, and see - I didnt just want to jump to any conclusions. I stuck to it- and nothing.....my hair started thinning again and the acne was coming back and then the missed periods.....so I went to my PCP- told them i needed the 24hr urine and wouldnt you know.....427 cortisol level (on that 0-50 scale)......here we go again. So back to endo- now at Penn Pituitary Center.....it was another journey b/c the tumor wasnt definative on MRI, and it seems to be cycling.....but I was diagnosed with Cushings again- with the option of 2nd pit surgery or BLA.......after some months of trying to make a decision I went with the 50/50 chance of the second pituitary surgery on 10/26/2011. It didnt work- my levels never came down in the hospital and I went home w/ out of range cortisol levels and no need for medication......BLURG......Sooooo on to the next step.....after I recover from this surgery I will most likely have the BLA- with the hopes of not having to deal with Cushings ever again. This time around has been a little more difficult just with being a mom and feeling sick- but I still continue to be amazingly blessed with a supportive family and husband and we are surrounded by love and support and for that I am beyond greatful. I keep all of you in my prayers for relief and health- as I ( we all) know this no easy journey. Many Blessings! Fabiana Update September 12, 2015 So to bring this up to date. My second pituitary surgery in 2011 was unsuccessful. January of 2012 I had both of my adrenal glands removed. Going to adrenal insufficiency was a very difficult transition for me. It took me nearly 2 years before I felt functional. As time went on I felt more human, but I haven't felt healthy since that day. I can and do function, but at a lower expectation of what I used to be capable of....my "new normal". My husband and I decided to try for a second child...my pituitary was damaged from the second surgery and we needed fertility...after 8 months of fertility I got pregnant and we had our second son January of 2015. In April of 2015 we discovered that my ACTH was increasing exponentially. MRI revealed a macroadenoma invading my cavernous sinus. The tumor is sitting on my carotid artery and milimeterrs away from my optic chasim. I was not a candidate for another surgery due to the tumors proximity to.both of those vital structures. So September 1st of this year I started daily radiation treatments. I spent my 34th birthday getting my brain zapped. I am receiving proton beam therapy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. I am so lucky to live so close to an institute that has some of the rarest treatment options. Again Cushing's is disrupting our life, my husband goes with me every night to radiation while family takes turns watching the kids....I am now on my 18th year of fighting this disease. I never imagined it would get to this point. But here we all are making the best of each day, fighting each day and trying to keep things as "normal" as possible. Blessings to all of you fighting this disease...my new go to saying is" 'effing Cushing's"! For you newbies...Fight, Advocate for yourselves, and find a doc who doesn't dismiss you and hang on to them for dear life. HOME | Sitemap | Adrenal Crisis! | Abbreviations | Glossary | Forums | Donate | Bios | Add Your Bio | Add Your Doctor | CushieWiki
  3. It’s hard to say when my exact “journey” began with what we now know is Cushing’s Disease. Both my Mom and my doctor believe I’ve had this for years, when I started having period problems, migraines and unexplained weight gain in high school. I can safely say that I started really noticing/documenting this last round of health issues in the spring of 2007. I can remember my first doctor’s visit regarding the onset of this in spring 2006, but the majority of my health issues really began a year later. I’d always suffered from migraines, but only around my menstrual periods. I took birth control to help with that, and it also helped regulate my periods for the majority of my adolescent and young adult life. In Spring 2007, however, I started experiencing cluster migraines that were debilitating, blinding and just absolutely horrible. I don’t usually have a primary care physician because I’m, for the most part, a really healthy girl. But I started seeing a doctor to pinpoint the cause of the migraine headaches. I had a CT scan which came back negative for any problems. I tried different abortive medications to treat the migraines when I had them (Imitrex) and also preventive medications (Topamax) but nothing helped. I’m not a big fan of popping pills and insisted that I find the cause of the migraines, rather than just masking them with an expensive, non-generic daily pill. I cut back on caffeine, avoided certain trigger foods, changed the lighting in my house and in my office, had my eyes checked and even experimented with different birth control options, since estrogen can be a huge trigger for migraines in women. Those lifestyle changes helped a little, but I was still having them. Read more at My Journey | Living with Cushing's Disease. Rachel will be our guest in an interview on BlogTalk Radio Wednesday, June 3 at 6:00 PM eastern. The Call-In number for questions or comments is (657) 383-0416. The archived interview will be available after 7:00 PM Eastern through iTunes Podcasts (Cushie Chats) or BlogTalkRadio. While you're waiting, there are currently 84 other past interviews to listen to!
  4. If is for me. This is not the same as food allergy, this is a reaction to the histamine content of foods, or foods that cause mast cells to release histamine, coupled with genetic or acquired deficiency of the enzyme that breaks down histamine in the normal gut: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.long I've noticed that almost everyone on a histamine intolerance forum is diagnosed with Hashimoto's or "adrenal fatigue" or high cortisol and also have a lot of gut symptoms: "Histamine intolerance results from a disequilibrium of accumulated histamine and the capacity for histamine degradation. Histamine is a biogenic amine that occurs to various degrees in many foods. In healthy persons, dietary histamine can be rapidly detoxified by amine oxidases, whereas persons with low amine oxidase activity are at risk of histamine toxicity. Diamine oxidase (DAO) is the main enzyme for the metabolism of ingested histamine. It has been proposed that DAO, when functioning as a secretory protein, may be responsible for scavenging extracellular histamine after mediator release. Conversely, histamine N-methyltransferase, the other important enzyme inactivating histamine, is a cytosolic protein that can convert histamine only in the intracellular space of cells. An impaired histamine degradation based on reduced DAO activity and the resulting histamine excess may cause numerous symptoms mimicking an allergic reaction. The ingestion of histamine-rich food or of alcohol or drugs that release histamine or block DAO may provoke diarrhea, headache, rhinoconjunctival symptoms, asthma, hypotension, arrhythmia, urticaria, pruritus, flushing, and other conditions in patients with histamine intolerance. Symptoms can be reduced by a histamine-free diet or be eliminated by antihistamines. However, because of the multifaceted nature of the symptoms, the existence of histamine intolerance has been underestimated, and further studies based on double-blind, placebo-controlled provocations are needed. In patients in whom the abovementioned symptoms are triggered by the corresponding substances and who have a negative diagnosis of allergy or internal disorders, histamine intolerance should be considered as an underlying pathomechanism. Full text at the link. A food list to be used as a guide to finding if you have histamine food triggers. I was gaining a lb a day on little food until I started eating low histamine and taking diamine oxidase. Dropped a lot of weight in two weeks: http://www.histaminintoleranz.ch/download/foodlist/21_FoodList_EN_alphabetic_withCateg.pdf This is the best list online, but some folks tolerate high hist foods, and react to low ones, it's only a guide to help figure out if you have any degree of histamine intolerance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1369594 Neuroendocrinology. 1992 Dec;56(6):851-5. Histamine H1 and H2 receptor activation stimulates ACTH and beta-endorphin secretion by increasing corticotropin-releasing hormone in the hypophyseal portal blood. Kjaer A1, Knigge U, Plotsky PM, Bach FW, Warberg J. Author information AbstractHistamine (HA) stimulates the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and beta-endorphin (beta-END) via activation of central postsynaptic H1 or H2 receptors. The effect of HA is indirect and may involve the hypothalamic regulating factors corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), arginine vasopressin, or oxytocin (OT). We studied the effect of specific HA H1 or H2 receptor agonists on the concentration of CRH and OT in hypophyseal portal blood in urethane-anesthetized male rats. In addition we investigated the effect of the agonists on ACTH and beta-END immunoreactivity in peripheral plasma in conscious male rats pretreated with antiserum to CRH. Intracerebroventricular administration of the H1 receptor agonist 2-thiazolylethylamine (2-TEA) or the H2 receptor agonist 4-methylhistamine (4-MeHA) increased the CRH concentration in pituitary portal blood by 80-90% when compared to preinfusion levels (p < 0.05). Central infusion of saline had no effect. The level of OT in the pituitary portal blood was not affected by 2-TEA or 4-MeHA when compared to saline-treated rats. Intracerebroventricular infusion of 2-TEA or 4-MeHA increased the ACTH concentration in peripheral plasma 3- or 4-fold, respectively (p < 0.01). Pretreatment with a specific CRH antiserum (abCRH) inhibited the responses by 50 and 70%, respectively (p < 0.01). Intracerebroventricular administration of 2-TEA or 4-MeHA increased the beta-END immunoreactivity in peripheral plasma 3- or 2-fold, respectively (p < 0.01). These effects were inhibited by 80-90%, when rats were pretreated with abCRH (p < 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID: 1369594 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  5. From Rebecca's bio at http://cushingsbios.com/2014/05/01/interview-may-14-with-rebecca-d-rebecca-d-pituitary-patient/ Listen live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cushingshelp/2014/05/14/rebecca-d-rebecca-d-pituitary-patient If you have questions for our guest, the call-in number is (347) 843-4703 Archives will be available at this same link after the interview and in the Cushie Podcast at http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/cushingshelp-cushie-chats/id350591438
  6. From Kathy's bio at http://cushingsbios.com/2014/04/25/kathy-c-pituitary-bio/ Kathy will be interviewed May 7, 2014 in BlogTalkRadio. You can listen live and ask questions or download the podcast later.
  7. Miriam writes in her bio: “I suffered for eight long years with Cushings disease . I had surgery on August 1 , 2012 , I look like a different person , and act like a different person. I would love to share my journy . One that was an emotional roller coaster . It was a long hellish journey .However I would not trade it for anything else in the world. Although I suffered immensly, Cushings has made me who I am today. I have become strong from this disease. Although I suffered many symptoms, the emotional ones were by far the worst. I would love to be interveiwed because I vowed when I was ill to help people when I got better. I want to give people hope .” MaryONote: Miriam will be interviewed on BlogTalkRadio podcasts December 4, 2013 at 6:00pm eastern
  8. By: SHERRY BOSCHERT, Family Practice News Digital Network SAN FRANCISCO – The size of a pituitary tumor on magnetic resonance imaging in a patient with ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome can’t differentiate between etiologies, but combining that information with biochemical test results could help avoid costly and difficult inferior petrosal sinus sampling in some patients, a study of 131 cases suggests. If MRI shows a pituitary tumor larger than 6 mm in size, the finding is 40% sensitive and 96% specific for a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease as the cause of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-dependent Cushing’s syndrome, and additional information from biochemical testing may help further differentiate this from ectopic ACTH secretion, Dr. Divya Yogi-Morren and her associates reported at the Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting. Pituitary tumors were seen on MRI in 6 of 26 patients with ectopic ACTH secretion (23%) and 73 of 105 patients with Cushing’s disease (69%), with mean measurements of 4.5 mm in the ectopic ACTH secretion group and 8 mm in the Cushing’s disease group. All but one tumor in the ectopic ACTH secretion group were 6 mm or smaller in diameter, but one was 14 mm. Because pituitary "incidentalomas" as large as 14 mm can be seen in patients with ectopic ACTH secretion, the presence of a pituitary tumor can’t definitively discriminate between ectopic ACTH secretion and Cushing’s disease, said Dr. Yogi-Morren, a fellow at the Cleveland Clinic. That finding contradicts part of a 2003 consensus statement that said the presence of a focal pituitary lesion larger than 6 mm on MRI could provide a definitive diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, with no further evaluation needed in patients who have a classic clinical presentation and dynamic biochemical testing results that are compatible with a pituitary etiology (J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 2003;88:5593-602). The 6-mm cutoff, said Dr. Yogi-Morren, came from an earlier study reporting that 10% of 100 normal, healthy adults had focal pituitary abnormalities on MRI ranging from 3 to 6 mm in diameter that were consistent with a diagnosis of asymptomatic pituitary adenomas (Ann. Intern. Med. 1994;120:817-20). A traditional workup of a patient with ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome might include a clinical history, biochemical testing, neuroimaging, and an inferior petrosal sinus sampling (IPSS). Biochemical testing typically includes tests for hypokalemia, measurement of cortisol and ACTH levels, a high-dose dexamethasone suppression test, and a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulation test. Although IPSS is the gold standard for differentiating between the two etiologies, it is expensive and technically difficult, especially in institutions that don’t regularly do the procedure, so it would be desirable to avoid IPSS if it’s not needed in a subset of patients, Dr. Yogi-Morren said. The investigators reviewed charts from two centers (the Cleveland Clinic and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston) for patients with ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome seen during 2000-2012. ACTH levels were significantly different between groups, averaging 162 pg/mL (range, 58-671 pg/mL) in patients with ectopic ACTH secretion, compared with a mean 71 pg/mL in patients with Cushing’s disease (range, 16-209 pg/mL), she reported. Although there was some overlap between groups in the range of ACTH levels, all patients with an ACTH level higher than 210 pg/mL had ectopic ACTH secretion. Median serum potassium levels at baseline were 2.9 mmol/L in the ectopic ACTH secretion group and 3.8 mmol/L in the Cushing’s disease group, a significant difference. Again, there was some overlap between groups in the range of potassium levels, but all patients with a baseline potassium level lower than 2.7 mmol/L had ectopic ACTH secretion, she said. Among patients who underwent a high-dose dexamethasone suppression test, cortisol levels decreased by less than 50% in 88% of patients with ectopic ACTH secretion and in 26% of patients with Cushing’s disease. Most patients did not undergo a standardized, formal CRH stimulation test, so investigators extracted the ACTH response to CRH in peripheral plasma during the IPSS test. As expected, they found a significantly higher percent increase in ACTH in response to CRH during IPSS in the Cushing’s disease group, ranging up to more than a 1,000% increase. In the ectopic ACTH secretion group, 40% of patients did have an ACTH increase greater than 50%, ranging as high as a 200%-300% increase in ACTH in a couple of patients. "Although there was some overlap in the biochemical testing, it is possible that it provides some additional proof to differentiate between ectopic ACTH secretion and Cushing’s disease," Dr. Yogi-Morren said. In the ectopic ACTH secretion group, the source of the secretion remained occult in seven patients. The most common identifiable cause was a bronchial carcinoid tumor, in six patients. Three patients each had small cell lung cancer, a thymic carcinoid tumor, or a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. One patient each had a bladder neuroendocrine tumor, ovarian endometrioid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, or a metastatic neuroendocrine tumor from an unknown primary cancer. The ectopic ACTH secretion group had a median age of 41 years and was 63% female. The Cushing’s disease group had a median age of 46 years and was 76% female. Dr. Yogi-Morren reported having no financial disclosures. sboschert@frontlinemedcom.com On Twitter @sherryboschert From Famiiy Practice News
  9. Even after successful treatment, patients with Cushing’s disease who were older when diagnosed or had prolonged exposure to excess cortisol face a greater risk of dying or developing cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). Cushing’s disease is a rare condition where the body is exposed to excess cortisol – a stress hormone produced in the adrenal gland – for long periods of time. Researchers have long known that patients who have Cushing’s disease are at greater risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease than the average person. This study examined whether the risk could be eliminated or reduced when the disease is controlled. Researchers found that these risk factors remained long after patients were exposed to excess cortisol. “The longer patients with Cushing’s disease are exposed to excess cortisol and the older they are when diagnosed, the more likely they are to experience these challenges,” said Eliza B. Geer, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center and lead author of the study. “The findings demonstrate just how critical it is for Cushing’s disease to be diagnosed and treated quickly. Patients also need long-term follow-up care to help them achieve good outcomes.” The study found cured Cushing’s disease patients who had depression when they started to experience symptoms of the disease had an elevated risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease. Men were more at risk than women, a trend that may be explained by a lack of follow-up care, according to the study. In addition, patients who had both Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. The study examined one of the largest cohorts of Cushing’s disease patients operated on by a single surgeon. The researchers retrospectively reviewed charts for 346 Cushing’s disease patients who were treated between 1980 and 2011. Researchers estimated the duration of exposure to excess cortisol by calculating how long symptoms lasted before the patient went into remission. The patients who were studied had an average exposure period of 40 months. The findings may have implications for people who take steroid medications, Geer said. People treated with high doses of steroid medications such as prednisone, hydrocortisone or dexamethasone are exposed to high levels of cortisol and may experience similar conditions as Cushing’s disease patients. “While steroid medications are useful for treating patients with a variety of conditions, the data suggests health care providers need to be aware that older patients or those who take steroid medications for long periods could be facing higher risk,” Geer said. “These patients should be monitored carefully while more study is done in this area.” From http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/256284.php
  10. LA JOLLA, CA—Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a protein that drives the formation of pituitary tumors in Cushing’s disease, a development that may give clinicians a therapeutic target to treat this potentially life-threatening disorder. The protein, called TR4 (testicular orphan nuclear receptor 4), is one of the human body’s 48 nuclear receptors, a class of proteins found in cells that are responsible for sensing hormones and, in response, regulating the expression of specific genes. Using a genome scan, the Salk team discovered that TR4 regulates a gene that produces adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which is overproduced by pituitary tumors in Cushing’s disease (CD). The findings were published in the May 6 early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We were surprised by the scan, as TR4 and ACTH were not known to be functionally linked,” says senior author Ronald M. Evans, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and a lead researcher in the Institute’s Helmsley Center for Genomic Medicine. “TR4 is driving the growth and overexpression of ACTH. Targeting this pathway could therapeutically benefit treatment of CD.” In their study, Evans and his colleagues discovered that forced overexpression of TR4 in both human and mouse cells increased production of ACTH, cellular proliferation and tumor invasion rates. All of these events were reversed when TR4 expression was reduced. First described more than 80 years ago, Cushing’s disease is a rare disorder that is caused by pituitary tumors or excess growth of the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. People with CD have too much ACTH, which stimulates the production and release of cortisol, a hormone that is normally produced during stressful situations. While these pituitary tumors are almost always benign, they result in excess ACTH and cortisol secretion, which can result in various disabling symptoms, including diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, obesity and psychological disturbances. Surgical removal of the tumors is the first-line therapy, with remission rates of approximately 80 percent; however, the disease recurs in up to 25 percent of cases. Drugs such as cabergoline, which is used to treat certain pituitary tumors, alone or in combination with ketoconazole, a drug normally used to treat fungal infections, have been shown to be effective in some patients with Cushing’s disease. More recently, mefipristone-best known as the abortion pill RU-486-was approved by the FDA to treat CD. Despite these advances in medical therapy, the Salk scientists say additional therapeutic approaches are needed for CD. “Pituitary tumors are extremely difficult to control,” says Michael Downes, a senior staff scientist in the Gene Expression Laboratory and a co-author of the study. “To control them, you have to kill cells in the pituitary gland that are proliferating, which could prevent the production of a vital hormone.” Previous studies have found that, by itself, TR4 is a natural target for other signaling molecules in the pituitary. Small-molecule inhibitors that have been developed for other cancers could be potentially applied to disrupt this signaling cascade. “Our discovery,” says Evans, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and holder of the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology, “might lead clinicians to an existing drug that could be used to treat Cushing’s disease.” Source: Salk Institute
  11. Basel Monday, December 17, 2012, 16:00 Hrs [iST] The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Novartis' Signifor (pasireotide) injection for the treatment of adult patients with Cushing's disease for whom pituitary surgery is not an option or has not been curative. Signifor is the first medicine to be approved in the US that addresses the underlying mechanism of Cushing's disease, a serious, debilitating endocrine disorder caused by the presence of a non-cancerous pituitary tumour which ultimately leads to excess cortisol in the body. This approval follows a unanimous recommendation from the FDA Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (EMDAC) in support of the use of Signifor. "The FDA approval of Signifor for Cushing's disease brings a novel pituitary-directed therapy to patients with limited treatment options," said Hervé Hoppenot, president, Novartis Oncology. "Today's milestone reinforces Novartis' commitment to addressing unmet needs and advancing treatments for rare pituitary-related disorders." Cushing's disease most commonly affects adults as young as 20 to 50 years and affects women three times more often than men. It may present with weight gain, central obesity, a round, red full face, severe fatigue and weakness, striae (purple stretch marks), high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. Cushing's disease can cause severe illness and death with mortality up to four times higher than in the healthy population. The approval is based on data from PASPORT-CUSHINGS (PASireotide clinical trial PORTfolio - CUSHING'S disease), the largest randomized Phase III study to evaluate a medical therapy in patients with Cushing's disease. Results from the PASPORT-CUSHINGS study found that a decrease in mean urinary-free cortisol (UFC), the key measure of biochemical control of the disease, was sustained during the treatment period in most patients with a subset of patients reaching normal levels. The study also showed that certain clinical manifestations of Cushing's disease tended to improve. "Patients with Cushing's disease may suffer from debilitating manifestations, and there are many serious health complications associated with the disease," said Mary Andrews, CEO and Co-Founder of the US non-profit, The MAGIC Foundation. "The FDA approval of Signifor offers the option of a medical therapy that may help certain patients with Cushing's disease." In April 2012, the European Commission approved Signiforfor the treatment of adult patients with Cushing's disease for whom surgery is not an option or for whom surgery has failed. Other worldwide regulatory filings for pasireotide for this use are also underway. Signifor (pasireotide) is approved in the US for the treatment of adult patients with Cushing's disease for whom pituitary surgery is not an option or has not been curative, and in the European Union for the treatment of adult patients with Cushing's disease for whom surgery is not an option or for whom surgery has failed. For the treatment of Cushing's disease, Signifor has been studied as a twice-daily subcutaneous (sc) injection and is currently being evaluated as a long-acting release (LAR), once-monthly intramuscular (IM) injection as part of a global Phase III program in Cushing's disease and acromegaly. Signifor is a multireceptor targeting somatostatin analog that binds with high affinity to four of the five somatostatin receptor subtypes (sst 1, 2, 3 and 5). From http://pharmabiz.com/NewsDetails.aspx?aid=72752&sid=2
  12. From http://www.cushie.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1146:dr-theodore-F.-interviews&catid=10:media&Itemid=18 Theodore C. F., M.D., Ph.D. has opened a private practice, specializing in treating patients with adrenal, pituitary, thyroid and fatigue disorders. Dr. F. has privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Martin Luther King Medical Center. His practice includes detecting and treating hormone imbalances, including hormone replacement therapy. Dr. F. is also an expert in diagnosing and treating pituitary disorders, including Cushings disease and syndrome. Dr. F.'s career reflects his ongoing quest to better understand and treat endocrine problems. With both medical and research doctoral degrees, he has conducted studies and cared for patients at some of the country's most prestigious institutions, including the University of Michigan, the National Institutes of Health, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and UCLA's Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. Read Dr. F.'s First Guest Chat, November 11, 2003. Read Dr. F.'s Second Guest Chat, March 2, 2004. Listen to Dr. F. First Live Voice Interview, January 29, 2009. Listen to Dr. F. Second Live Voice Interview, March 12, 2009. Listen to Dr. F. Third Live Voice Interview, February 13, 2011. This post has been promoted to an article
  13. October 1, 2012 at 6:30 PM eastern, Dr. Amir Hamrahian will answer our questions about Cushing's, pituitary or adrenal issues and Korlym (mifepristone) in BlogTalkRadio at http://www.blogtalkr...s-our-questions You may listen live at the link above. The episode will be added to the Cushing's Help podcast after the show is over. Listen to the podcasts by searching for Cushings in the iTunes podcast area or click here: http://itunes.apple....ats/id350591438 Dr. Hamrahian has had patients on Korlym for about 4 years. Please submit your questions below or email them to CushingsHelp@gmail.com before Sunday, September 30. From Dr. Hamrahian's bio at http://my.clevelandc...x?doctorid=3676 Amir Hamrahian, M.D. (216) 444-6568 http://my.clevelandc...5&DoctorID=3676 Appointed: 2000 Request an Appointment Research & Publications † ( † Disclaimer: This search is powered by PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed is a third-party website with no affiliation with Cleveland Clinic.) Biographical Sketch Amir H. Hamrahian, MD, is a Staff member in the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Cleveland Clinic's main campus, having accepted that appointment in 2005. Prior to that appointment, he was also a clinical associate there for nearly five years. His clinical interests include pituitary and adrenal disorders. Dr. Hamrahian received his medical degree from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, and upon graduation was a general practitioner in the provinces of Hamadan and Tehran, Iran. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of North Dakota, Fargo, and an endocrinology fellowship at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals, Cleveland. In 2003, he received the Teacher of the Year award from Cleveland Clinic's Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Dr. Hamrahian speaks three languages -- English, Turkish and Farsi -- and is board-certified in internal medicine as well as endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. He is a member of the Endocrine Society, Pituitary Society and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Education & Fellowships Fellowship - University Hospitals of Cleveland Endocrinology Cleveland, OH USA 2000 Residency - University of North Dakota Hospital Internal Medicine Fargo, ND USA 1997 Medical School - Hacettepe University School of Medicine Ankara Turkey 1991 Certifications Internal Medicine Internal Medicine- Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Specialty Interests Cushing syndrome, acromegaly, pheochromocytoma, prolactinoma, primary aldosteronism, pituitary disorders, adrenal tumor, adrenocortical carcinoma, MEN syndromes, adrenal disorders Awards & Honors Best Doctors in America, 2007-2008 Memberships Pituitary Society Endocrine Society American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists American Medical Association Treatment & Services Radioactive Iodine Treatment Thyroid Aspiration Thyroid Ultrasound Specialty in Diseases and Conditions Acromegaly Addison’s Disease Adrenal disorders Adrenal insufficiency Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison’s Disease Adrenal Tumors Adrenocortical Carcinoma Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) Amenorrhea Androgen Deficiency (Low Testosterone) Androgen Excess Calcium Disorders Carcinoid Syndrome Conn's Syndrome Cushing's Syndrome Empty sella Erectile Dysfunction Familial Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Fasting hypoglycemia Flushing Syndromes Galactorrhea Goiter Growth hormone deficiency Growth hormone excess Gynecomastia Hirsutism Hyperaldosteronism Hyperandrogenism Hyperprolactinemia Hypertension - High Blood Pressure Hyperthyroidism Hypocalcemia Hypoglycemia Hypogonadism Hypoparathyroidism Hypophysitis Hypopituitarism Hypothyroidism Mastocytosis Menopause, Male Menstrual Disorders Paget's Disease Panhypopituitarism Parathyroid Cancer Parathyroid Disease and Calcium Disorders Pheochromocytoma Pituitary Cysts Pituitary Disorders Pituitary stalk lesions Pituitary Tumors Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Primary Hyperaldosteronism Primary Hyperparathyroidism Prolactin Excess States Prolactinoma Thyroid and pregnancy Thyroid Cancer Thyroid Disease Thyroid Nodule
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