The Endocrine Society

The Endocrine Society

April 03, 2016
1 min read

Pituitary hormone deficiencies found in veterans with mild traumatic brain injury

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BOSTON — A high prevalence of pituitary hormone deficiencies has been found among Veterans who sustain mild traumatic brain injury, according to data presented here.

“Some of these hormone deficiencies, which mimic some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, may be treated successfully with hormone replacement if correctly diagnosed,” Charles Wilkinson, PhD, a researcher with the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, said in a press release. “Although studies in civilians indicate a 25% to 50% prevalence of hormonal deficiencies resulting from brain injuries, surprisingly there are limited data on their prevalence and symptoms in military veterans.”

Charles Wilkinson

Charles Wilkinson

Wilkinson, Elizabeth A. Colasurdo, a research laboratory manager at VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated 27 veterans who sustained one or more blast-induced mild TBIs 1 year or more before the study and 14 veterans who did not experience TBI to determine specific pituitary dysfunctions among the veterans. All participants were men.

Elizabeth Colasurdo

Elizabeth A. Colasurdo

Twelve of the mild TBI group had hormone deficiencies compared with one of the group who did not experience mild TBI. Growth hormone deficiency was found in eight of those mild TBI, three had secondary adrenal deficiency and two had hypogonadism (one was also positive for growth hormone deficiency. The one participant with hormone deficiency who did not experience mild TBI had serum prolactin greater than the 95th percentile of the concentration range of a reference sample.

“The value of screening for hormonal abnormalities after concussions, particularly in the presence of chronic symptoms, is currently a matter of debate,” Wilkinson said in the release. “Yet, if the possibility of hormone deficiencies in our veterans is not considered, appropriate treatment may not occur.” – by Amber Cox


Colasurdo EA, et al. Poster SAT 480. Presented at: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting; April 1-4, 2016; Boston.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.