The Effects of Diabetes on the Developing Brain.

It has long been wondered what effects diabetes in kids may have on the developing brain. Recent studies suggest that higher glucose levels found in poorly controlled diabetes alter brain development. Dr. Tsalikian is an author on a recent manuscript (link) published in the prestigious journal Diabetologia furthering these observations. The multicenter observational trial found that among children with diabetes, those with higher average glucose levels had greater degrees of persistent disruption of their brain white matter, and that the changes in white matter were associated with worsened cognitive performance. These results suggest that good glucose control is important for future brain function in children with diabetes. However, since the study was observational and correlative, these conclusions are not truly definitive and further study is needed. It remains crucial that children with diabetes be followed by an expert pediatric endocrinology team, such as at the University of Iowa. Several other of our division members contributed to this work, including Dr. Tansey, along with study coordinators Julie Coffey MSN, Joanne Cabbage, and Sara Salamati.

“Diabetes Off To College” Class.

Dr. Kanner

Heading off to college is challenging enough, but especially for teens and young adults with diabetes. Issues range from storing insulin in dorms, navigating roommates, knowing about the effects of alcohol, and complete independence of diabetes care. To assist with this transition, Dr. Kanner helped organize and host our inaugural “Diabetes Off To College” class which was held today. The event included dinner and 2 hours of diabetes education for teens and young adults about to head/return to college. The event was held in the beautiful and scenic Press Box on Level 12 of Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency in Adolescents.

Dr. Kanner

Dr. Kanner has published a case series aimed at understanding the characteristics and most common non-cytotoxic causes of primary ovarian insufficiency in adolescents. Her publication can be found here, and appeared in the Dec 2018 issue of the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

Dr. Curtis Institutes Senior Medical Student Lecture Series.

Dr. Curtis

Dr. Vanessa Curtis is the Assistant Director for Medical Student Education in Pediatrics at the University of Iowa, and Director of Advanced Electives and Sub-Internships. As such, she provides intensive one-on-one advising and direction to medical students in the final year of their education, especially for students who plan on pursuing pediatrics as a specialty. This year, Dr. Curtis instituted a lecture series to further teach these senior medical students.

Dr. Pinnaro Receives the Leona Cuttler Quality Assurance Award.

Dr. Pinnaro

The Leona Cuttler award recognizes the best quality improvement abstract presented at the national Pediatric Endocrine Society meeting. We could not be more proud to announce that the 2019 winner of this award is our own fellow, Dr. Cat Pinnaro. Her abstract reported her work building an app to help pediatric residents learn how to manage ketones in children with diabetes. Dr. Curtis was the faculty mentor involved in this project. Together they are submitting this work for peer-reviewed publication. We also want to point out that Dr. Pinnaro‘s acumen for teaching residents is well recognized, as she was awarded the 2018 Stead Family Children’s Hospital Fellow Teaching Award. Congratulations to Dr. Pinnaro on both these awards !!

Our Program is Nationally Ranked Among the Best Children’s Diabetes & Endocrinology Programs.

Dr. Tsalikian

We have been rated among the Best Children’s Hospitals for Diabetes & Endocrinology Care by the US News & World Report 13th annual national report, where we were ranked #21 nationwide. Other top ranked specialties at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital included neonatology, pediatric urolology, pediatric orthopedics, pediatric nephrology, and pediatric cancer.

“Being once again ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals—and the only nationally ranked children’s hospital in Iowa—highlights our dedication to providing the best care to all of Iowa’s children, as well as those in surrounding states and across the country. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our doctors, nurses, and staff.”

Dr. Eva Tsalikian

Dr. Larson Ode Gives Invited European Lecture.

Dr. Larson Ode

We are proud of Dr. Katie Larson Ode, who is giving an invited lecture today at the European Cystic Fibrosis Society annual Conference in Liverpool, UK. The title of her lecture as “CFRD (cystic fibrosis related diabetes) in the age of correctors”. Dr. Larson Ode is an internationally recognized expert in the care of patients with CFRD. Patients with cystic fibrosis are now being treated with powerful medications that directly restore function of the defective protein that causes their disease. These medications dramatically improve lung function, but their impact on cystic fibrosis related diabetes is less clear. In her talk, Dr. Larson Ode will review available data and discuss ongoing uncertainties.

Dr. Tsalikian Tapped to Become Interim Chair of Pediatrics.

Dr. Tsalikian

Dr. Tsalikian, who has long headed the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes, has been asked to serve as the interim Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa and as the interim physician-in-chief of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. These requests recognize her strong leadership skills for leading an academic medical department focused on excellent clinical care and advancing treatment and prevention through cutting edge research. Dr. Tsalikian assumed these duties effective June 1, 2019. Dr. Tsalikian received her medical degree from the University of Athens. Her training in endocrinology research was obtained at the University of California San Francisco and at Mayo Clinic. She completed a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and a Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Pesce Recognized for her Outstanding Teaching

Dr. Liuska Pesce receiving the award.

Dr. Pesce recently received the Excellence in Clinical Coaching award. This award is given to select faculty who are known for outstanding clinical teaching of resident and fellow physicians. The comments that accompanied the award were “Dr. Pesce has a true passion for teaching and making sure that her patients receive the best care possible. When I have worked with Dr. Pesce, she sat with me one-on-one to review the unique aspects of the patient’s diagnoses and explained why we may be doing things a certain way.

Does Diabeteic Ketoacidosis Impact Brain Development in Children?

Dr. Tsalikian has helped author a recent manuscript aimed at better understanding whether diabetic ketoacidosis might impact brain development in children. This manuscript was published this month in the prestigious journal Diabetes Care (permanent link to manuscript, link to public free version). They found that children who had experienced moderate-to-severe diabetic ketoacidosis had altered brain dimensions and lower cognitive scores. These results, though only correlative, suggest that moderate-to-severe diabetic ketoacidosis has an adverse impact on the developing brain. Several other of our division members contributed to this work, including Dr. Tansey, along with study coordinators Julie Coffey MSN, Joanne Cabbage, and Sara Salamati.