Treatment Programs

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Pediatric Endocrine Program and Diabetes Center

The Pediatric Endocrinology Program and Diabetes Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children is an international referral center for the management of pediatric diabetes and endocrine disorders in children and adolescents.

  • 617-726-2909

The Pediatric Endocrinology Program and Diabetes Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children is an international referral center for the management of pediatric diabetes and endocrine disorders in children and adolescents. Every patient of the Pediatric Endocrine Unit has a personal endocrinologist. We work collaboratively with primary care physicians, other specialty caregivers, and–most importantly– patients and their families to deliver the highest quality of care.

Our physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all endocrine-related conditions of infants, children and adolescents, including:

  • Diabetes mellitus type 1
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • Growth disorders
  • Thyroid and adrenal problems
  • Problems of puberty
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Pituitary disorders, including pituitary tumors, hormone deficiencies, diabetes insipidus, and care of patients following therapy of brain tumors
  • Calcium and bone metabolism disorders, including rickets, osteoporosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, and parathyroid disease
  • Disorders of sexual development
  • Hirsutism and menstrual disorders, including polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Endocrine tumors

Special areas of excellence within pediatric endocrinology include:

The Pediatric Diabetes Center: We provide comprehensive care to children and adolescents with both type 1 (juvenile-onset; insulin-dependent) and type 2 (adult-onset; non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. The Diabetes Center offers an individualized approach to each child with diabetes and to the family. The team of diabetes specialists includes pediatric endocrine and diabetes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians and social workers, all with years of experience working with children and adolescents with diabetes. Our nurses and nurse practitioners are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs), just one indication of their commitment to high quality care. The education program is certified by the American Diabetes Association. We provide coordinated outpatient care from diagnosis through chronic management. We are a leading center for outpatient management of newly diagnosed diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes: Of the hundreds of adolescents and children with diabetes for whom we provide specialty care, half receive their daily insulin needs via insulin pump, which permits a high degree of flexibility but which also mandates intensive monitoring. Many young people also use a continuous glucose monitoring system. The insulin pump is not the best choice of all children with type 1 diabetes. However, our commitment to every family is the same: to achieve the best level of blood sugar control possible for each child we follow.

Children with type 1 diabetes may have other disorders including thyroid disease and celiac disease. Our endocrinology, gastroenterology and nutrition staff work together to integrate the management of these disorders. Our commitment to diabetes care also extends to the laboratory, where members of the pediatric endocrinology group are working to determine the protein factors in cells that control the development of the insulin producing beta cell with the aim of developing a means to reproduce beta cell function. We also collaborate with the diabetes immunology laboratory on clinical and laboratory studies to understand the cause of type 1 diabetes and its treatment. We are involved in international collaborative treatment studies to prolong the remission phase of type 1 diabetes, and we are working with bioengineers who are developing a "closed loop" system to measure blood sugar and replace insulin as it is needed. 

Type 2 Diabetes: We have the same commitment to personalized, multidisciplinary care of patients with type 2 diabetes, which is increasingly common among children and adolescents. We work with our Pediatric Weight Center to help children with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome achieve optimal health. One reflection of that commitment is our active involvement in a nationwide research program designed to optimize care of young patients with this disorder (read about the TODAY Study).

Growth Disorders: John Crawford, MD, Chief of the Pediatric Endocrine Unit from 1963 to 1990, was among the first physicians in the world to treat children with growth failure with human growth hormone. The unit remains dedicated to offering patients with growth disorders state-of-the-art evaluation and therapy. This includes opportunities for selected patients to participate in clinical trials.

Neuroendocrinology: The Neuroendocrine Service works closely with neurosurgery and neuroradiology to assure up-to-date diagnostic studies and treatment for children with various pituitary disorders, including Cushing’s disease, acromegaly and disorders of growth related to pituitary disorders.

  • Children with pituitary disorders requiring surgery are managed in collaboration with neurosurgeons internationally recognized for transphenoidal pituitary surgery as well as open surgery when necessary.
  • Children with pituitary disorders requiring radiation receive treatment at the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the few such facilities in the world.

Disorders of Puberty: We have particular expertise in caring for children with reproductive endocrine disorders and work closely with the adult Reproductive Endocrine Unit. The Reproductive Endocrine Service provides support for children and adolescents with disorders of puberty including precocious and delayed puberty, and abnormalities of pubertal development hirsutism and polycystic ovarian disease. This service was one of the first to offer effective treatment to children with sexual precocity.

Thyroid Disorders: Childhood thyroid disorders are managed through our general thyroid imaging and treatment unit. We offer comprehensive care and follow up of childhood thyroid cancer.

Disorders of Sexual Development: We provide medical, psychological and surgical support in an empathic and comprehensive manner for children born with incomplete genital or sexual development, chromosomal problems like Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome, and adrenal disorders leading to genital abnormalities.

Disorders of Calcium and Bone Metabolism: Our staff is nationally known for expertise in the field of calcium, vitamin D and bone metabolism. We provide state-of –the-art interpretation of bone density tests in children and teenagers, and a comprehensive discussion of strategies to improve bone density in a variety of conditions. We work closely with our colleagues in Pediatric Nephrology to provide expertise in rare disorders of calcium and phosphate metabolism.   

At MassGeneral Hospital for Children, we know that the time of your child’s diagnosis and treatment is a very stressful one and we strive to provide an open, welcoming environment. We believe that no one knows a child as well as the parent does; parents, along with primary care providers, become our partners in a child's care and have an active voice in all treatment plans.

Adrenal Tumors / Pheochromocytoma

Tumors of the adrenal glands can cause many problems by excess secretion of certain adrenal-produced hormones, most often resulting in high blood pressure, which can be extreme.

Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by absent menstrual periods for more than three monthly menstrual cycles.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is an illness that resembles bulimia nervosa and is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa, also called “bulimia,” is uncontrolled episodes of overeating, usually followed by self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, or medications to control weight.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. CF causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that leads to progressive lung infection and difficulty gaining weight.

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is a condition that results from insufficient production of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a hormone that helps the kidneys and body conserve the correct amount of water.

Diabetic Foot Problems

The nerves of the feet are often affected by neuropathy or blood vessel diseases. When a diabetes patient loses sensation in the feet, sores or injuries may go unnoticed until ulcers develop.

Diabetic Nephropathy (Kidney Disease)

Nephropathy is the deterioration of the kidneys. The final stage of nephropathy is called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.

Diabetic Neuropathy (Nerve Problems)

Diabetic neuropathy, a nerve disorder, is a complication of diabetes that can lead to problems throughout the body.

Diabetic Retinopathy and Other Eye Problems

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that may occur in persons with diabetes as a complication.

Eating Disorders

The term eating disorders refers to a variety of disorders. The common feature of all the eating disorders is abnormal eating behaviors. Eating disorders are serious mental health problems and can be life threatening.

Empty Sella Syndrome

Empty sella syndrome is a condition where the bony structure that houses the pituitary gland is enlarged, sometimes resulting in high fluid pressure inside the skull.

Excessive Hairiness (Hirsutism)

Excessive hairiness, also known as hirsutism, is characterized by abnormal hair growth on areas of skin that are not normally hairy.

Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder in which the stomach takes too long in emptying its contents.

Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common form of thyroiditis.

Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism is caused by overactive parathyroid glands. Overactive parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormones, which in turn stimulate increased levels of calcium in the blood stream.

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by a glucose (blood sugar) level that is too low to effectively fuel the body's blood cells.

Hypoparathyroidism

Underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormones. This causes low levels of calcium in the blood.

Hypopituitarism

Hypopituitarism, also called an underactive pituitary gland, is a condition that affects the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland - usually resulting in a partial or complete loss of functioning of that lobe.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the condition in which the thyroid is underactive (i.e., it is producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones).

Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy

Hypothyroidism is a condition marked by an underactive thyroid gland and may occur during pregnancy

Menorrhagia

Menorrhagia is the most common type of abnormal uterine bleeding characterized by heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes the presence of a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.

Obesity

Obesity increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle-bone disease, is a genetic (inherited) disorder characterized by bones that break easily without a specific cause.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease in which there is a loss of bone mass and destruction of bone tissue, causing weakening of the bones in the hips, spine and wrists.

Overactive Adrenal Glands / Cushings Syndrome

When adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of certain hormones, they are called "overactive."

Parathyroid Tumor

A parathyroid tumor is a growth inside a parathyroid gland. Parathyroid tumors may cause increased levels of parathyroid hormones secreted by the parathyroid glands, leading to hyperparathyroidism.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause refers to the transitional period of time before menstruation actually stops, which is marked by changes in the menstrual cycle, along with other physical and emotional symptoms.

Pituitary Tumors

Although rare, most pituitary tumors are not cancerous (benign), comprising only 7 percent of brain tumors. However, most pituitary tumors will press against the optic nerves, causing vision problems.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome involves two of the following: lack of ovulation for an extended period of time, high levels of male hormones or small ovarian cysts.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

One particular postpartum complication is postpartum thyroiditis, a condition characterized by an inflamed thyroid gland.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

A much more severe form of the collective symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a chronic medical condition that requires attention and treatment.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Most women experience some unpleasant or uncomfortable symptoms during their menstrual cycle.

Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a metabolic disorder in which one (or more) of the parathyroid glands produces too much parathyroid hormone, which can result in the loss of bone tissue.

Thyroid Disorders in Women

The thyroid gland, which plays an important role in the body's metabolism, secretes several hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin.

Thyroid Tumors

Thyroid tumors are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) growths.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including the following: insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile diabetes, brittle diabetes, and sugar diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or to properly use, insulin.

Underactive Adrenal Glands / Addisons Disease

Addison's disease is the result of an underactive adrenal gland.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Immune Therapy in Type 1 Diabetes

Dr. Sherry's focus is to develop a better understanding of type 1 diabetes by conducting current trials in immune therapy for type 1 diabetes (TIDM) and leading the development of new approaches to clinical trials in this field.

MGHfC Pediatric Endocrine Program & Diabetes Center

Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
55 Fruit Street
Suite 6C
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-2909
Fax: 617-724-0581
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

To schedule an appointment with a MassGeneral for Children pediatric specialist, please call 888-644-3248 or complete our online appointment form to request an appointment.

Physicians may call 888-644-3211 or use the online referral form and the Access & New Appointment Center will call your patient within 1 business day.

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