Navigation Links
Nearly half of veterans found with blast concussions might have hormone deficiencies

BOSTONUp to 20 percent of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have experienced at least one blast concussion. New research suggests that nearly half these veterans may have a problem so under-recognized that even military physicians may fail to look for it. A new study conducted by Charles W. Wilkinson, Elizabeth A. Colasurdo, Kathleen F. Pagulayan, Jane. B. Shofer, and Elaine R. Peskind, all of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington in Seattle, has found that about 42 percent of screened veterans with blast injuries have irregular hormone levels indicative of hypopituitarism.

Many conditions associated with hypopituitarism mimic other common problems that veterans can suffer, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, explains study leader Wilkinson. However, unlike those other conditions, those under the banner head of hypopituitarism can be can often be well-controlled by replacing the deficient hormones. "This could be a largely missed opportunity for successful treatment," Wilkinson says.

The team will discuss their study, entitled, "Prevalence of Chronic Hypopituitarism After Blast Concussion," at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting, being held April 20-24, 2013 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Mass. The poster presentation is sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS), a co-sponsor of the event. As the findings are being presented at a scientific conference, they should be considered preliminary, as they have not undergone the peer review process that is conducted prior to the data being published in a scientific journal.

A Simple Screen

Wilkinson explains that researchers have recently recognized that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can cause hypopituitarisma decrease in the concentrations of at least one of eight hormones produced by the pituitary, a gland seated at the base of the brain. Studies in the last few years have suggested that between 25 and 50 percent of people who receive TBIs have low pituitary hormone levels. However, these early studies have focused on injuries that civilians are more likely to receive, such as an automobile accident.

As a research physiologist who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Wilkinson decided to investigate whether veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq who suffer blast injuries show a similar frequency of hypopituitarism.

He and his colleagues collected blood samples from 35 veterans coming home from these wars and diagnosed with a blast concussion about a year priorenough time for hormone changes to become evident. They then did a screen to compare blood concentrations of the eight hormones produced by the pituitary with the documented normal levels of these hormones.

Missed Opportunity for Treatment

The researchers found that about 42 percent of these veterans showed abnormally low levels of at least one of these hormones. The most common low hormone was human growth hormone, which can cause behavioral and cognitive symptoms similar to PTSD and depression, along with increases in blood lipids and changes in metabolism and blood pressure that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. The second most common problem was hypogonadism, changes in sexual hormones that can affect body composition and sexual function.

The researchers also saw that some veterans had abnormally low levels of vasopressin and oxytocin, hormones that have been linked to psychiatric problems and bonding. Problems with these hormone levels, in addition to growth hormone, could lead to personality changes that affect relationships with loved ones, Wilkinson explains.

He notes that the prevalence of hypopituitarism in the general population is estimated at 0.03 percent. The 42 percent prevalence that these results suggest is cause for further investigation, he says.

"We're not diagnosing definite disorders in this studythese individuals would still need a clinical evaluation," he explains. "But if even 10 percent of these veterans have hypopituitarism, it's a problem that physicians should be aware of."

Wilkinson adds that many veterans who suffer blast injuries may never see an endocrinologistand a neurologist or a psychiatrist, whom they're more likely to see for post-concussion follow-up, is unlikely to screen for hormonal deficiencies. Because low hormone levels can often be successfully treated, he says, it's a missed opportunity to help veterans. The work was supported by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.


Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

Related biology news :

1. 100+ million mapped (and growing) records of nearly every living US species
2. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards nearly $4 million in new NARSAD grants
3. Ocean plankton sponge up nearly twice the carbon currently assumed
4. NIH awards nearly $2 million to 3 NYC institutions for chronic fatigue syndrome research
5. Virology researcher awarded nearly $2 million to study chronic hepatitis E
6. LSUHSC scientist awarded nearly $2 million to determine role of biofilms in common fungal infection
7. Mount Sinai researchers solve mystery surrounding the death of two sisters nearly 50 years ago
8. Do dolphins think nonlinearly?
9. Autism Speaks awards nearly $2.9 million to fund autism research
10. Nearly one-tenth of hemispheres mammals unlikely to outrun climate change
11. Baylor University scientist receives major grants for health research on 1991 Gulf War veterans
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... -- Although some 350 companies are actively involved in molecular ... according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, Abbott ... of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according to ... Diagnostic s .    ... one company and only a handful of companies can ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris , ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a ... fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface de ... passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed ... dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating ... the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the ... . Cell, pinpoints a protective ... the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, ... that Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive ... Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 ... in New York City. --> ... . Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... BC (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... our customer, OrthoAccel® Technologies, Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast ... Technologies’ Texas facility, OrthoAccel manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, a privately held ... disorders, announced today the appointment of H. ... (BOD). Mr. Watkins is the former president and ... and also served as the chairman of the ... Chairman and CEO of HemoShear Therapeutics. "The combination ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Laboratories is pleased to announce that it has completed construction on a new ... 61, USP 62 and USP 51 testing specific to raw materials and will enable ... by one supplier. Management has formally announced that the facility will be ...
Breaking Biology Technology: