New Hope for Brain Injuries: Pituitary Gland Testing
At a medical conference I attended a few years ago, I recall one of the guest speakers said the only cure for a brain injury is avoidance. He of course was referring to the school of thought that for the most part, neurons don’t recover after a brain injury. While that may be open to debate, there is hope for improvement for some types of brain injury that often goes overlooked.
The pituitary gland sits at the base of the brain, and is easily damaged with even a relatively mild impact. This can result in a disruption of hormones, which in turn can lead to many similar symptoms reported by people who have experienced concussions—things like memory loss and fatigue. It is relatively easy to test pituitary function—just a blood test that can be ordered by a family doctor.
That is good news – but even better news is that if there is a problem in the hormone levels it can probably be treated. The bad news is that most people who have sustained a brain injury never get these tests. If you are lucky enough to be in the hands of the right specialist, he or she will probably order the testing. Some family doctors are now starting to order the test and most will do so if asked. If you have had a brain injury or concussion (MTBI), and you have not been tested for pituitary function, you might want to discuss this with your doctors.
Unfortunately, the hormone replacement treatment can be expensive; however it may be covered by auto insurance, or occasionally other drug plans.
If your doctor is not sure what test to order, I would be happy to forward the research articles to you or your doctor. Contact Chris Collins by email or call 519.660.7810.