3-year-old Michael Johnson is about to become a big brother. But that might never have happened. In fact, he might never have happened – if his mom hadn’t sought out the help of an expert pituitary surgeon.
Michael’s mom is 37-year-old Lakisha Jones Johnson, a no-nonsense beat cop from from Haledon, New Jersey with the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. In 2012, still single and child-free, she went to the gynecologist for a routine screening when the doctor asked how long her breast had been discharging milk. Lakisha said it had been happening for 2 or 3 years but she didn’t think anything of it. She had googled it and read that some people just lactate for no reason, that it can be harmless. But now, looking back, she realizes that she had other symptoms. She often lacked energy and focus, had missed some periods and suffered from headaches.
This month the PNA Spotlight shines on Simon Hanft, MD, the Surgical Director of the Pituitary Tumor Program and Director of Spinal Oncology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He also serves as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Dr. Hanft did his undergraduate work at Yale, pursued a Masters from the University of Cambridge in England, and a medical degree from Stanford University. He did his residency at Columbia University with a focus on brain and spine tumors, then moved on to a fellowship in surgical neuro-oncology at the University of Miami. Dr. Hanft answered a few questions from the PNA. His answers are below:
This month’s PNA Medical Corner showcases an effort by a large group of endocrine specialists to replace the term “pituitary adenoma” with “pituitary neuroendocrine tumor” or PitNET for short. The group met at the 14th Meeting of the International Pituitary Pathology Club in France last November. The impressive list of authors includes multiple longtime members and associates of the PNA: Drs. Sylvia Asa, Shereen Ezzat, Philippe Chanson, Edward Laws Jr. and Ian McCutcheon.
An article in News-Medical.net highlights a study from Japan that identifies a new type of endocrine autoimmune disease that leads to hypopituitarism and is caused by a tumor on the thymic gland. Read more here.
An article in Medpage Today looks at a study done by a longtime member of the PNA, Dr. Peter Snyder of the University of Pennsylvania. His research showed an elevated level of noncalcified coronary artery plaque in men with age-related low-testosterone treated with 1 % Androgel. However, a second study reported a heart benefit. Read more here.
An article from Reuters Health looks at a Swedish study that found that people who had radiation for pituitary/sellar lesions, particularly at a young age, had a statistically significant higher risk of developing a secondary brain tumor. The author recommends doctors carefully weigh the risks of radiotherapy. Read more here.
An article in the Mirror details one Florida woman’s pituitary journey. Vicki, Perez, a former bikini model and fitness enthusiast, gained 42 pounds in a year and struggled even longer to get a diagnosis. Two surgeries later she is on the mend, taking care of her young son and studying to be a dental hygienist. Read more here.
Knowledge is power and we believe keeping abreast of news on the research front is imperative. Each month in Highlights we feature a few of the top news stories, which you can read below. In addition, we update our website on a regular basis with the latest breaking news related to pituitary and hormonal disorders by gathering stories we think you'll be interested in from MD Linx, Medscape, MedPage Today, PubMed, Touch Endocrinology, News-Medical.net and WebMD.
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