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Anna Nordenström and Henrik Falhammar

Non-classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (NCAH) is a relatively common disorder regardless of ethnicity, but most cases are never diagnosed, especially in males. A baseline 17-hydroxyprogesterone measurement may be used for screening, but 17-hydroxyprogesterone measurement after ACTH stimulation is the gold standard. We advocate a CYP21A2 mutation analysis to verify the diagnosis, for genetic counselling and for better prognostic and treatment guidance. Most patients are diagnosed in adolescence and adult life with hirsutism, acne, a PCOS-like picture and fertility issues. Many men with NCAH never seek medical attention and escape diagnosis. Although treatment is somewhat controversial, an early diagnosis and start of treatment may have positive implications on growth and be relevant for preventing and ameliorating the symptoms and consequences of androgen excess that develop over time, including fertility issues. Long-term treatment with glucocorticoids will improve the androgen symptoms but may result in long-term complications, such as obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, osteoporosis and fractures. The glucocorticoid doses should be kept low. However, complications seen in NCAH, assumed to be caused by the glucocorticoid treatment, may also be associated with long-term androgen exposure. Oral contraceptive pills are a common treatment option for young females with NCAH. Regular clinical monitoring to improve the clinical outcome is recommended. It is important to acknowledge that glucocorticoid treatment will lead to secondary cortisol insufficiency and the need for stress dosing. Studies focusing on the specific difficulties patients with NCAH face, both those with a late clinical diagnosis and those with a neonatal diagnosis obtained by screening, are warranted.

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H. Krawczynska, M. Zachmann, and A. Prader

ABSTRACT

Urinary testosterone glucuronide and sulphate was determined separately by gas chromatography in 39 newborns and young infants (34 males and 5 females). In all cases, testosterone sulphate was higher than glucuronide. Boys excreted more of both conjugates (sulphate 6.7, glucuronide 2.2 μg/24 h) than girls (1.1 and 0.7 μg/24 h, respectively). Boys older than 3 weeks had higher values than boys younger than 2 weeks. The levels correlated positively with chronological age, negatively with the gestational age and not at all with the bilirubin levels. It is concluded that testosterone is excreted preferentially as the sulphate in the newborn period and that the high sulphokinase activity in foetal and neonatal testes is more likely responsible for this phenomenon than an impaired glucuronizing capacity of the liver.

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J Pohlenz, W Ahrens, and O Hiort

OBJECTIVE: To identify the molecular defect by which psychomotor retardation is caused in two brothers with congenital hypothyroidism who received adequate treatment with l-thyroxine. CASE REPORT: A six-year-old boy presented with psychomotor retardation and congenital primary hypothyroidism (CH). The patient had a normal blood thyrotrophin (TSH) level on neonatal screening, but low total serum thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations prompting thyroid hormone substitution shortly after birth. Nevertheless, psychomotor development was retarded and the patient underwent further investigation. Typical features of Albright's hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO) such as round face, obesity, and shortened 1st, 4th and 5th metacarpals were found. METHODS AND RESULTS: Further investigation confirmed AHO with pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) type Ia. The boy had a mild resistance to parathyroid hormone and a reduced adenylyl cyclase stimulating protein (Gsalpha) activity in erythrocytes. DNA analysis detected a new heterozygous mutation (L338N) in the Gsalpha protein (GNAS1) gene. This mutation was also present in the patient's brother who had similar features and was also treated with thyroid hormone because of CH, and in the phenotypically normal-looking mother who had a normal calcium metabolism but a reduced Gsalpha protein activity in erythrocytes suggestive of pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism. CONCLUSION: In patients with CH, in whom the neurological outcome is poor even under adequate thyroid hormone substitution, PHP Ia may be suspected, especially when symptoms of AHO are present.

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M Peter, K Bunger, SL Drop, and WG Sippell

We performed a molecular genetic study in two patients with congenital hypoaldosteronism. An original study of these patients was published in this Journal in 1982. Both index cases, a girl (patient 1) and a boy (patient 2). presented with salt-wasting and failure to thrive in the neonatal period. Parents of patient 1 were not related, whereas the parents of patient 2 were cousins. Endocrine studies had shown a defect in 18-oxidation of 18-OH-corticosterone in patient 1 and a defect in the 18-hydroxylation of corticosterone in patient 2. Plasma aldosterone was decreased in both patients, whereas 18-OH-corticosterone was elevated in patient 1 and decreased in patient 2. Plasma corticosterone and 11-deoxycorticosterone were elevated in both patients, whereas cortisol and its precursors were in the normal range. According to the nomenclature proposed by Ulick, the defects are termed corticosterone methyl oxidase (CMO) deficiency type II in patient 1, and type I in patient 2 respectively. Genetic defects in the gene CYP11B2 encoding aldosterone synthase have been described in a few cases. In patient 1, we identified only one heterozygous amino acid substitution (V386A) in exon 7, which has no deleterious effect on the enzyme activity. In patient 2 and his older brother, we identified a homozygous single base exchange (G to T) in codon 255 (GAG), causing a premature stop codon E255X (TAG). The mutant enzyme has lost the five terminal exons containing the haem binding site, and is thus a loss of function enzyme. This is only the second report of a patient with CMO deficiency type II without a mutation in the exons and exon-intron boundaries, whereas the biochemical phenotype of the two brothers with CMO deficiency type I can be explained by the patient's genotype.

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Sylvie Hiéronimus, Magali Bec-Roche, Florence Pedeutour, Jean Claude Lambert, Kathy Wagner-Malher, Jean Christophe Mas, Jean Louis Sadoul, and Patrick Fénichel

Objective: Clinical features associated with microdeletion of chromosome 22q11 (del(22)(q11)) are highly variable. Increased awareness of this condition is needed among specialists such as endocrinologists to reduce diagnostic delay and improve clinical care. The purpose of this study was to describe the phenotype of patients with del(22)(q11), focusing on parathyroid gland dysfunction.

Design and methods: Charts of 19 patients, including one kindred of three, known to have del(22)(q11) diagnosed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were reviewed from the register of the department of Medical Genetics. Major clinical features including hypoparathyroidism phenotype were collected.

Results: Parathyroid dysfunction was present in 8 out of 16 patients (50%). Six patients were diagnosed with overt hypoparathyroidism. Hypocalcemia manifested as laryngeal stridor within the first days of life (n=3), seizures in infancy (n=1) and adolescence (n=2). The connection between hypoparathyroidism and diagnosis of del(22)(q11) was belated at the median age of 18 years. One patient had presented with transient neonatal hypoparathyroidism, and one patient had latent hypoparathyroidism. Within the kindred family, the phenotype variability including that of parathyroid dysfunction was as marked as between unrelated individuals. Standard karyotype failed to detect the deletion in 15 out of 19 cases.

Conclusions: Abnormal parathyroid function in the del(22)(q11) ranges from severe neonatal hypocalcemia to latent hypoparathyroidism. Del(22)(q11) should be considered as a potential cause of hypocalcemia even in young adult. When suspected, the diagnosis requires investigation by FISH. Furthermore, long-term calcemia follow-up is needed in normocalcemic patients with del(22)(q11) because of the possible evolution to hypocalcemic hypoparathyroidism.

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M. S. Laurent de Angulo and H. H. van Gelderen

ABSTRACT

An attempt has been made to determine the value of the lysine-8-vasopressin test when used together with the insulin-induced hypoglycaemia and the metyrapone test for the differentiation between hypothalamic and pituitary secondary adrenocortical insufficiency. This study was carried out in 65 children and adolescents with various disorders associated with growth retardation or overweight. The criteria for normal responses to the tests were based on findings in a 'control' group consisting of children with short stature without endocrinological disease. These criteria have been discussed in detail.

In the control group, the concordance between the results of each of the tests was good. As far as the groups with proven or possible hypothalamic and/or pituitary disorders were concerned, discrepancies between the LVP test results and those of the ITT were found in a considerably higher proportion of cases. The combination of an abnormal ITT and a normal LVP test was encountered significantly more often than the reverse situation. This is in agreement with the hypothesis that LVP acts directly on the adenohypophysis while ITT acts at the hypothalamic or higher levels. The LVP test seems to be a valuable additionto the tests of hypothalamic-hypophyseal function.

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Paul Starr and John Nicoloff

ABSTRACT

Measurement of PBI values in healthy pre-adolescent Negro school children (N = 437) revealed a mean value of 6.4 ±.06 mg/100 ml while in a similar population of Caucasian children (N = 614) a normal mean value of 5.6 ±.07 mg/100 ml was observed. The difference had a P value <.001. Comparison of 131I T3 red cell uptake values in these two groups demonstrated a significant depression (P <.01) in the Negro children. TBG saturation capacities of Caucasian children were 24.7 ± 0.6 (S.E.M.) for ages 6 to 11 years and 21.3 ± 1.1 for ages 12 to 19 years which were not different from the adult values of 22.9 ± 0.8. In Negro children these values were 28.9 ± 0.7 for ages 6 to 11 and 25.4 ± 1.9 for ages 12 to 19 which were significantly different from their Caucasian counterparts. Adult Negro PBI values of 5.6 ± 0.25 and TBG of 24.5 ± 1.5 were not different from adult Caucasian values. Thyroxine-binding pre-albumin (TBPA) saturation capacities were significantly depressed in pre-adolescents (Caucasian 71 ± 7; Negro 69 ± 4) and adolescents (Caucasian 105 ± 13; Negro 109 ± 19) below the normal adult values but no racial difference was displayed. It is now apparent that racial origin must be a consideration in the evaluation of pre-adolescent and adolescent PBI and 131I T3 red cell uptake results and that TBPA and TBG capacities may normally alter during puberty in a manner independent of each other rather than reciprocally as has been recently proposed.

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W. Croughs, H. K. A. Visser, M. G. Woldring, and A. Bakker

The kinetics of thyroxin metabolism in adult man has been studied extensively (1, 2). In children only the data of Haddad (3) on 17 euthyroid children between 3 and 9 years of age are available.

Thyroxin turnover studies were carried out in 19 children between 3 and 15 years of age: euthyroid control 5; pituitary insufficiency 4; hypothyroidism during treatment 2; off treatment for 2 months 1; adolescent goiter 3; obesity 3 and one 3 years old eumetabolic child who had an iodine goiter at birth. Fractional rate of turnover K, thyroxin degradation rate D and other data were calculated according to Sterling cs. (2). In part of the children the thyroid gland was blocked with propylthiouracil; in the others also the thyroxin secretion rate S was calculated according to Ingbar cs. (1).

Results: Values for D and S were in good agreement. Mean value for K in 5 normal

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Pierre Ferrier and Thérèse Lemarchand-Beraud

Very little is known yet about thyroid hormone transport capacity of the serum and thyroid hormone protein binding in children. Except for the studies by Haddad (1) and by Dreyer and Man (2), all observations so far published are concerned with hormone transport mechanisms in the adult. In order to establish reference values, thyroid function tests were performed in 35 eumetabolic children (20 boys and 15 girls) aged from 6 weeks to 11 years. In vitro erythrocyte uptake of T3 was measured according to the procedure of Hamolsky et al. (3). Protein binding of T4 was studied at progressive degrees of saturation by paper electrophoresis in tris-maleate buffer at pH 8.6 according to Ingbar et al. (4). Values were compared with those from a group of 21 euthyroid adults, tested in the same laboratory. PBI was found to be higher in children than in adults. This tendency has been noted

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L. Kanaris, K. Ntalles, K. Alevizaki, P. Lapatsanis, Ch. Velentzas, P. Katsichtis, E. Georgiou, Ch. Drossos, and D.G. Ikkos

The aim of the present work was to obtain bone mass estimates of healthy Greek children aged 6–18 years. This work was considered worthwhile since similar data are very few in the world litterature (Bonnard 1968, Gryfe et al. 1971), while those for Greece (Livadas et al. 1975) refer to 902 children only (462 boys and 440 girls) aged 5–13 years.

The material of the present study consists of 2.406 schoolboys and 2.451 schoolgirls aged 6–18 years, of whom 864 boys and 1.189 girls were living in Attica, while the remaining 1.542 boys and 1.262 girls were living in communities outside Attica (i.e. Atalanti, Arnea, Elatia and Karpenisi). Standing body height and body weight was measured in all subjects. Furthermore, a plain x–ray of the left hand was taken in all children, using a focal distance of 80 cm.

By means of a micrometer apparatus (Taschenmessloupe TM4, C. Zeiss) the