In collaboration with the University Hospitals Birmingham, IMSR researchers took part in activities supporting awareness and enhanced understanding of pituitary-related health conditions. The pituitary – located at the base of the brain – is often referred to as the ‘master gland’ as it plays a key role in hormone regulation of growth and many other essential processes.
Almost 50 patients and family members joined us at the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Saturday March 25th for a morning and lunch session consisting of talks, discussion and science facility visits, coordinated between IMSR researchers and UHB clinical nurse specialists, including Miriam Asia and Sherwin Criseno.
IMSR clinician-scientist Dr Niki Karavitaki welcomed everyone to the session with a quick overview of the support offered to patients and how we connect clinical work to cutting edge research in IMSR. This was followed by a talk from Sherwin Criseno on the links between heart problems and patients with pituitary tumours.
We then heard from Danielle, a patient with lived experience of acromegaly who shared her inspiring personal story of being diagnosed with and going through multiple treatments (surgeries, medicines) as part of the ongoing management of her condition. Danielle also spoke about the awareness raising work she has started doing, which began with working with Dr Caroline Gillett in the SMQB as part of an artist residency project (read more about this here). There she was paid up with artist Lucy Hutchinson and researchers including Niki and Dr Gaby da Silva Xavier, collaborating to develop an audio-visual artwork. The artwork created from that residency was showcased in the Lore + (Dis)order art exhibition and Danielle has continued to use creativity to express herself and spread awareness about her condition, including her talk at this event!
Dr Leandro Junges, also from SMQB, then gave a short talk about how he is using maths within medicine, focusing his presentation on his new metabolomics project with Niki and Dr Christian Ludwig.
Christian and Gaby also got directly involved, offering visitors tours of the NMR research facility and the IMSR clinical labs where they could get a real feel for the research being done. The visitors all seemed to enjoy themselves a lot and this was reflected in feedback and the many questions exchanged on the day.
Ahead of lunch, Sherwin also gathered audience ideas and practical suggestions for how the pituitary service could be improved. This was a very useful discussion, allowing audience members and staff to better understand each other’s barriers and needs.
And then lunch came, offering all the opportunity to informally chat, network and meet others over samosas, cake and much more.
With thanks to everyone who took part either in coordinating the day, giving talks or tours or by taking part in the audience discussion. Niki and the team will be running another session in a few months – so if this interests you get in touch! Thanks also to The Pituitary Foundation for their ongoing work supporting patients with helpful resources and advocacy.