December 2013 PNA Spotlight

yuenkevinThis month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Kevin Yuen, MBChB, MD, FRCP (UK), who is a professional member of the PNA. Dr. Yuen is Associate Professor of Endocrinology and Medical Director of the Dynamic Endocrine Testing Unit at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Dr. Yuen completed his residency and fellowship training at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He also spent five years researching growth hormone treatment at the same university.

Dr. Yuen was kind enough to answer the following questions from the PNA:

1) What is the primary focus of your work/research?

The metabolic effects of hormones related to hypothalamic/pituitary disorders:

1) Growth hormone excess and deficiency - growth hormone dosing and its effects on insulin sensitivity, testing for adult growth hormone deficiency and assessing the efficacy and safety of long-acting growth hormone preparations;

2) Cortisol excess (endogenous and iatrogenic Cushing's syndrome) and testosterone on glucose homeostasis, fat patterning and body composition.

2) What do you consider to be the future of your field?

The field is rapidly expanding, especially with the escalating numbers of individuals worldwide developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It is important to gain a better understanding of the role of hormones secreted or controlled by the pituitary such as growth hormone, cortisol and testosterone on the pathophysiology of these diseases, so that in the future novel and effective therapies could be designed and studied.

3) What should people know about your field/what deserves more recognition/awareness?

1) Hypothalamic/pituitary diseases require more general public awareness, especially the importance of close follow-up and management of its associated complications as it has implications in promoting the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease; 

2) Growth hormone and testosterone are important hormones that the body produces for regulating of glucose metabolism, bone health and body composition, but these two hormones should only be used in the appropriate setting when growth hormone and testosterone deficiencies are confirmed with validated laboratory and stimulatory testing.

4) Why did you get involved with the PNA and what is the extent of your involvement?

1) I got involved with PNA with the hope of increasing the awareness of hypothalamic/pituitary diseases in both the general public and in other medical specialties apart from endocrinology;

2) To educate providers in correctly diagnosing and using growth hormone and testosterone in the appropriate setting;

3) To write scientific articles for fellow providers and to provide educational resources to patients.