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MR Imaging Offers Better Diagnosis and Treatment of Pituitary Diseases

March 31, 2020
by Jane E. Dee

When it comes to our personal health, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the pituitary gland. But this pea-sized gland, which sits in a bony structure behind our eyes, plays an outsized role in our well-being by regulating the production of hormones. These hormones help control vital bodily functions such as growth, metabolism, thyroid function, and blood pressure.

Pituitary dysfunction, such as an over- or under-active thyroid, has traditionally been diagnosed using urine or blood tests. Now, Yale radiologists have detailed a more precise method of diagnosing and managing pituitary diseases using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

“MR is indispensable for making correct treatment decisions,” says Amit Mahajan, MD, assistant professor of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging at Yale School of Medicine. Mahajan is the first author of a recent scientific paper, “Diagnosis and Management of Pituitary Disease with Focus on the Role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging,” which was published in March in the journal Endocrine. 

“Successful management and follow-up of pituitary pathology requires an understanding of the MR appearance of normal and abnormal structures in the gland’s sellar region,” Mahajan said. 

Also contributing to the research was Richard Bronen, MD, professor of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging and chief of the department’s neuroradiology section. Mahajan and Bronen describe the MR appearance of the normal and abnormal pituitary gland and propose an algorithm for the management strategy of some of the most common abnormalities.

“While there have been many manuscripts describing MR imaging of the pituitary gland, this article updates this information with how recent anti-cancer checkpoint inhibitors affect the pituitary gland,” Bronen said. “Our manuscript provides a clear algorithm for management for treating physicians, based primarily on the combination of MR imaging findings, clinical status and therapeutic response to treatment -- this management algorithm was sorely needed.”

You can read their report here.

Submitted by Angel Machon on March 31, 2020