DSD Clinic Opens

Dr. Akhila Ramakrishna

Dr. Ramakrishna from our division has worked diligently with with several other pediatric sub-specialties to create the regions first clinic for children with DSD (differences in sex development). DSD represent a collection of conditions whereby the usual processes of sexual development have not occurred in the usual fashion. The usual anatomic, functional, hormonal, and/or reproductive functions are altered, absent, or mixed. DSDs are often evident at or even before birth, but some forms are not diagnosed until adulthood. Dr. Ramakrishna has partnered with pediatric urologist Dr. Gina Lockwood and clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Fuller to create the Iowa Gender Multi-Specialty (iGeMS) clinic. The clinic works to maximize the physical and emotional health of youth with DSD, using a multidisciplinary approach. The clinic additionally is staffed by clinical geneticists, pediatric radiologists, with support from reproductive endocrinology and clinical pharmacy services. Referral and appointment requests can be made as outlined on Dr. Ramakrishna’s clinical webpage (link).

Some of the DSD clinic providers:
Dr. Lockwood, Dr. Ramakrishna, Dr. Fuller

Drs. Alexandrou, Pinnaro, & Ramakrishna Pass Boards!

It takes years of training to become a pediatric endocrinologist, requiring at least a decade of studies after college. You could consider this to be the equivalent of completing the “26th grade”. The final step is to pass the Pediatric Endocrinology board exam. We are pleased to report that the three newest doctors in our Division have just passed their Board Exam. Congratulations to Drs. Alexandrou, Pinnaro, & Ramakrishna for becoming Board Certified Pediatric Endocrinologists. Their years of hard work and study have enabled them to become well qualified to diagnose and treat pediatric endocrine conditions.

A Novel Approach that Might Prevent “Belly Fat”

Dr. Akhila Ramakrishna

Perhaps the worst place to gain fat is inside your abdomen. This type of fat is called visceral fat, and contribute to risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and a host of related complications. Unfortunately, it is also a common place to gain fat. Dr. Ramakrishna has just published new research that has identified a potential new strategy to prevent visceral fat. She used two approaches in mice to reduce the amounts of a protein called PAPP-A. This was accomplished using a genetic and a neutralizing antibody approach respectively. These treatments reduced the amounts of visceral fat that the mice developed while on a high fa diet. Not only was the amount of visceral fat reduced, but the treatments helped prevent fatty liver. She published the work in the journal Endocrinology (link to paper). We look forward to further development of this approach.

Announcing New Faculty: Akhila Ramakrishna, MD

Dr. Ramakrishna

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Akhila Ramakrishna is starting as a new pediatric endocrinologist in our division. She received her Medical Degree from the Armed Forces Medical College, then completed a residency in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve, and just completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. She has published expertise in the area of thyroid dysfunction (link) and has studied rodent models of obesity as a fellow as well. In clinic, her practice will include general pediatric endocrinology and diabetes, as well as gender-related endocrine care, obesity-related endocrine care especially regarding bariatric surgery in adolescents, and outreach pediatric endocrine services in Cedar Falls.