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Open access

Rolf Jorde and Guri Grimnes

Objective

In addition to its skeletal effects, vitamin D may also be important for health in general. It is uncertain what level of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), marker of vitamin D status, is sufficient for these effects. With decreasing serum 25(OH)D levels there is an increase in serum PTH. The point at which this occurs has been considered as a threshold for vitamin D sufficiency. The thresholds found have varied widely and have mainly been based on observational studies. However, to truly establish a threshold for vitamin D effects, this has to be based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods

The study included 2803 subjects from a general health survey, the Tromsø study, and pooled individual person data from five vitamin D intervention studies (n = 1544). Serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and change in PTH after vitamin D supplementation were related to serum 25(OH)D levels in steps of 25 nmol/L (<24, 25–49, 50–74, 75–99, and >99 nmol/L).

Results

In the Tromsø study, in the females there was a gradual decrease in serum PTH with increasing serum 25(OH)D with no apparent plateau, whereas in the males the decrease in PTH in subjects with serum 25(OH)D >74 nmol/l was marginal. In pooled RCTs, there was a significant reduction in serum PTH by vitamin D supplementation regardless of baseline serum 25(OH)D level.

Conclusions

The use of the serum PTH–25(OH)D relation from observational studies to determine a threshold for vitamin D sufficiency is highly questionable.

Open access

Thabiso R P Mofokeng, Salem A Beshyah, Fazleh Mahomed, Kwazi C Z Ndlovu and Ian L Ross

Background

The burden and management of primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) in Africa have not been well documented. We aimed to identify specific disease characteristics, patient demographics, and patterns of clinical management in established PAI in Africa.

Methods

An online survey of physicians’ experience relating to PAI.

Results

There were 1334 responses received, 589 were complete, and 332 respondents reported managing patients with hypoadrenalism. The described responses were related to a calculated pool of 5787 patients with hypoadrenalism (2746 females, 3041 males), of whom 2302 had PAI. The likely causes of PAI in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) vs the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions included autoimmune disease (20% vs 60.3%; P < 0.001), tuberculosis (34% vs 4.1%; P < 0.001), AIDS (29.8% vs 1%; P < 0.001), malignancy, and genetic conditions. Sixteen percent of AD patients (376/2302) presented in an adrenal crisis. Medical emergency identification was not used by 1233 (83.6%) SSA vs 330 (40.4%) MENA patients (P < 0.001), respectively. Relative non-availability of diagnostic tests across both regions included adrenal antibodies 63% vs 69.6% (P = 0.328), s-cortisol 49.4 % vs 26.7% (P = 0.004), s-ACTH 55.7% vs 53.3% (P = 0.217), and adrenal CT scans 52.4% vs 31.8% (P = 0.017) in the SSA and MENA region, respectively. Across the entire cohort, the overall hydrocortisone use and extrapolated proportion of synacthen use were 59.4% and 50.7%, respectively.

Conclusions

Through the perception and practice of healthcare professionals, we identified significant challenges in the diagnosis and management of PAI which may herald high mortality. Differences between regions may reflect the allocation of healthcare resources.

Open access

Aleksandra Gilis-Januszewska, Łukasz Kluczyński and Alicja Hubalewska-Dydejczyk

Traumatic brain injury affects many people each year, resulting in a serious burden of devastating health consequences. Motor-vehicle and work-related accidents, falls, assaults, as well as sport activities are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. Consequently, they may lead to permanent or transient pituitary insufficiency that causes adverse changes in body composition, worrisome metabolic function, reduced bone density, and a significant decrease in one’s quality of life. The prevalence of post-traumatic hypopituitarism is difficult to determine, and the exact mechanisms lying behind it remain unclear. Several probable hypotheses have been suggested. The diagnosis of pituitary dysfunction is very challenging both due to the common occurrence of brain injuries, the subtle character of clinical manifestations, the variable course of the disease, as well as the lack of proper diagnostic algorithms. Insufficiency of somatotropic axis is the most common abnormality, followed by presence of hypogonadism, hypothyroidism, hypocortisolism, and diabetes insipidus. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current state of knowledge about post-traumatic hypopituitarism. Moreover, based on available data and on our own clinical experience, we suggest an algorithm for the evaluation of post-traumatic hypopituitarism. In addition, well-designed studies are needed to further investigate the pathophysiology, epidemiology, and timing of pituitary dysfunction after a traumatic brain injury with the purpose of establishing appropriate standards of care.

Open access

Willem de Ronde and Diederik L Smit

This review summarizes 10 years experience with male abusers of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS). The typical user of AAS is male, aged between 20 and 40 and lifting weights. Illegal AAS are cheap and easily obtained via internet or local suppliers. AAS are mostly used in cycles with a duration between 6 and 18 weeks. Most AAS cycles contain multiple agents, used simultaneously in a dose vastly exceeding a substitution dose. A variety of other performance and image-enhancing drugs are commonly used, including human growth hormone, thyroid hormone, tamoxifen, clomiphene citrate and human chorionic gonadotrophin. Short-term clinical and biochemical side effects are well established. Long-term side effects are uncertain, but may include heart failure, mood-and anxiety disorders, hypogonadism and subfertility. We share our views on the management of common health problems associated with AAS abuse.

Open access

Martine Cohen-Solal, Thomas Funck-Brentano and Pablo Ureña Torres

Mineral and bone diseases (MBD) are predominant in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and lead to several bone manifestations, from pain to skeletal fractures. Cumulative traditional clinical risk factors, such as age and gender, in addition to those related to CKD, enhance the risk of comorbidity and mortality related to fractures. Despite great advances in understanding MBD in CKD, clinical and biological targets are lacking, which leads to under-management of fractures. Optimal PTH control results in a net improvement in defining the levels of bone remodeling. In addition, circulating biomarkers such as bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and cross-linked collagen type I peptide will also provide additional information about remodeling rate, bone mineralization and the evaluation of fracture risk. Imaging techniques identify patients at risk by measurement of bone mineral density by DEXA or by high peripheral QCT, which allow the discrimination of trabecular and cortical bone. Here, we have reviewed the literature related to epidemiology and the pathophysiological role of mineral and biochemical factors involved in CKD-MBD with a special focus on fracture risk. We also provide an algorithm that could be used for the management of bone diseases and to guide treatment decisions. Finally, the combined expertise of clinicians from various disciplines is crucial for the best prevention of fractures.

Open access

N K Stepto, D Hiam, M Gibson-Helm, S Cassar, C L Harrison, S K Hutchison, A E Joham, B J Canny, A Moreno-Asso, B J Strauss, N Hatzirodos, R J Rodgers and H J Teede

Objective

Mechanisms of insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) remain ill defined, contributing to sub-optimal therapies. Recognising skeletal muscle plays a key role in glucose homeostasis we investigated early insulin signalling, its association with aberrant transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-regulated tissue fibrosis. We also explored the impact of aerobic exercise on these molecular pathways.

Methods

A secondary analysis from a cross-sectional study was undertaken in women with (n = 30) or without (n = 29) PCOS across lean and overweight BMIs. A subset of participants with (n = 8) or without (n = 8) PCOS who were overweight completed 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training. Muscle was sampled before and 30 min into a euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamp pre and post training.

Results

We found reduced signalling in PCOS of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). Exercise training augmented but did not completely rescue this signalling defect in women with PCOS. Genes in the TGFβ signalling network were upregulated in skeletal muscle in the overweight women with PCOS but were unresponsive to exercise training except for genes encoding LOX, collagen 1 and 3.

Conclusions

We provide new insights into defects in early insulin signalling, tissue fibrosis, and hyperandrogenism in PCOS-specific insulin resistance in lean and overweight women. PCOS-specific insulin signalling defects were isolated to mTOR, while gene expression implicated TGFβ ligand regulating a fibrosis in the PCOS-obesity synergy in insulin resistance and altered responses to exercise. Interestingly, there was little evidence for hyperandrogenism as a mechanism for insulin resistance.

Open access

Angelica Lindén Hirschberg

Emerging evidence indicates that testosterone, which can increase muscle mass and strength, stimulates erythropoiesis, promotes competitive behaviour, and enhances the physical performance of women. Indeed, the levels of testosterone within the normal female range are related to muscle mass and athletic performance in female athletes. Furthermore, among these athletes, the prevalence of hyperandrogenic conditions, including both polycystic ovary syndrome and rare differences/disorders of sex development (DSD), which may greatly increase testosterone production, are elevated. Thus, if the androgen receptors of an individual with XY DSD are functional, her muscle mass will develop like that of a man. These findings have led to the proposal that essential hyperandrogenism is beneficial for athletic performance and plays a role in the choice by women to compete in athletic activities. Moreover, a recent randomized controlled trial demonstrated a significant increase in the lean mass and aerobic performance by young exercising women when their testosterone levels were enhanced moderately. Circulating testosterone is considered the strongest factor to explain the male advantage in sport performance, ranging between 10 and 20%. It appears to be unfair to allow female athletes with endogenous testosterone levels in the male range (i.e. 10–20 times higher than normal) to compete against those with normal female androgen levels. In 2012, this consideration led international organizations to establish eligibility regulations for the female classification in order to ensure fair and meaningful competition, but the regulations are controversial and have been challenged in court.

Open access

Jie Shi, Zhen Yang, Yixin Niu, Weiwei Zhang, Ning Lin, Xiaoyong Li, Hongmei Zhang, Hongxia Gu, Jie Wen, Guang Ning, Li Qin and Qing Su

Objective

A small thigh circumference is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and total mortality. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between thigh circumference and hypertension in the middle-aged and elderly population.

Methods

A total of 9520 individuals aged 40 years and older with measurement of thigh circumference were available for analysis. The measurement of thigh circumference was performed directly below the gluteal fold of the thigh. The association of thigh circumference with hypertension was tested in logistic regression analyses and reported as odds ratio (OR) with 95% CI.

Results

Thigh circumference was negatively correlated with systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol. Compared with the lowest thigh circumference tertile group, the risk of hypertension was significantly lower in the highest tertile group, both in overweight individuals (OR 0.68; 95% CI 0.59–0.79, P < 0.001) and obese individuals (OR 0.51; 95% CI 0.38–0.70, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

In the present study, large thigh circumference is associated with lower risk of hypertension in overweight and obese Chinese individuals.

Open access

Julia Modesto Vicente, Junia Carolina Santos-Silva, Caio Jordão Teixeira, Dailson Nogueira de Souza, Jean Franciesco Vettorazzi, Fabiola Sales Furtuoso, Isabel Gouveia Adabo, Fabio Takeo Sato, Marco Aurélio Ramirez Vinolo, Everardo Magalhães Carneiro, Silvana Bordin and Gabriel Forato Anhê

Purpose

Observational studies show that longer breastfeeding periods reduce maternal risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, it is currently unknown if the long-term benefits of breastfeeding for maternal glucose homeostasis are linked to changes in the endocrine pancreas.

Methods

We presently evaluated functional, morphological and molecular aspects of the endocrine pancreas of mice subjected to two sequential cycles of pregnancy and lactation (L21). Age-matched mice not allowed to breastfeed (L0) and virgin mice were used as controls.

Results

L21 mice exhibited increased tolerance and increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) by isolated islets. Pancreatic islets of L21 mice did not present evident morphological changes to justify the increased GSIS. On the other hand, islets of L21 mice exhibited a reduction in Cavb3 and Kir6.2 expression with concordant increased intracellular Ca2+ levels after challenge with glucose.

Conclusion

Altogether, the present findings show the breastfeeding exerts long-term benefits for maternal endocrine pancreas by increasing intracellular Ca2+ levels and GSIS.

Open access

Hongyan Wang, Bin Wu, Zichuan Yao, Xianqing Zhu, Yunzhong Jiang and Song Bai

Purpose

Although resection is the primary treatment strategy for pheochromocytoma, surgery is associated with a high risk of morbidity. At present, there is no nomogram for prediction of severe morbidity after pheochromocytoma surgery, thus the aim of the present study was to develop and validate a nomogram for prediction of severe morbidity after pheochromocytoma surgery.

Methods

The development cohort consisted of 262 patients who underwent unilateral laparoscopic or open pheochromocytoma surgery at our center between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2016. The patients’ clinicopathological characters were recorded. The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) binary logistic regression model was used for data dimension reduction and feature selection, then multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to develop the predictive model. An independent validation cohort consisted of 128 consecutive patients from 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018. The performance of the predictive model was assessed in regards to discrimination, calibration, and clinical usefulness.

Results

Predictors of this model included sex, BMI, coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, tumor size, intraoperative hemodynamic instability, and surgical duration. For the validation cohort, the model showed good discrimination with an AUROC of 0.818 (95% CI, 0.745, 0.891) and good calibration (Unreliability test, P = 0.440). Decision curve analysis demonstrated that the model was also clinically useful.

Conclusions

A nomogram was developed to facilitate the individualized prediction of severe morbidity after pheochromocytoma surgery and may help to improve the perioperative strategy and treatment outcome.