UPMC Physician Resources

Our Program: Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology

At UPMC, The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism provides diagnostic and therapeutic services for children, including:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypoglycemia and disorders of physical growth
  • Sexual maturation
  • Thyroid function
  • Pituitary function
  • Calcium and phosphorous metabolism

For more than three decades, endocrinologists at Children’s Hospital have played a major role in the care of children with diabetes and all types of hormone-related disorders, such as:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • hypoglycemia and disorders of physical growth
  • sexual maturation
  • thyroid function
  • pituitary function
  • calcium and phosphorous metabolism

Children’s has one of the largest pediatric diabetes clinics in North America. The program is a leader in both clinical care and research and provides consultative services and long-term management of children with diabetes mellitus.

The Pediatric Endocrine Testing Center provides diagnostic endocrine tests for patients (both children and adults) in areas of endocrinology and carbohydrate, amino acid, and mineral and lipid metabolism. The center addresses growth abnormalities and the range of conditions that can cause them.

The Pediatric Thyroid Center provides a multidisciplinary integrated team approach for the evaluation and treatment of thyroid disease and related conditions.

The Nutrition Consultation Service provides consultative and follow-up service by a physician and dietitian for children up to 18 years of age with obesity problems and associated disorders. 

Experts

Our experts provide consultative and long-term management of diabetes and facilities referrals for additional services to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Our physicians work together with:

  • Diabetes nurse educators
  • Dieticians
  • Social workers 

Research

The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism is world renowned for its Pediatric Endocrine research, particularly in the area of diabetes and carbohydrate-related metabolic disorders. Children’s researchers are continually conducting investigations to understand better the causes of childhood diabetes in the hope of preventing the disorder and finding a cure.

The type 1 diabetes research being done by Children’s Hospital evaluates the immunologic, genetic, and environmental determinants in a search for triggers that precipitate clinical diabetes. Prevention of clinical diabetes as well as the physical and psychosocial complications of diabetes and preservation of insulin secretory capacity are the ultimate goals of the research of both local populations and national and international collaborations. Our researchers were amongst the first to recognize the coexistence of features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and coined the term “double diabetes.” Both epidemiologic and intervention strategies are ongoing. In one of the major international intervention studies, Children’s serves as the coordinating center for the United States. In that study, researchers are comparing use of hydrolyzed formulas in genetically susceptible infants. If the intervention is effective in delaying autoimmunity or its progression to diabetes, this first-ever primary prevention study of type 1 diabetes will have a far-reaching impact for individuals and the global society.

Type 2 diabetes, a disease once considered almost exclusive to adults, is increasing at an alarming rate among children. Research into the areas of hormones related to childhood obesity, insulin sensitivity/resistance, prediabetes, and cardiovascular disease in youth has led to an increased awareness of this epidemic and racial differences in its pathogenesis. This resulted in the validated patient care approaches at the Weight Management and Wellness Center,where the nationally recognized faculty is involved with trials aimed at type 2 diabetes intervention.

In addition to the research being done on diabetes, research is progressing in the study of growth hormone and its receptors in rodent models using a conditional knockout genetic approach. A number of clinical growth hormone studies supported by pharmaceutical research include the GeNeSIS study with a primary goal of evaluating the long-term safety and efficacy of growth hormone use for children with endocrine or growth disorders with 5 substudies: DNA Analysis, Growth Prediction, SHOX Deficiency, Neoplasia and Idiopathic Short Stature. The idiopathic short stature study assesses the effect of different growth hormone doses in short children without growth hormone deficiency. The need to identify and characterize the clinical, endocrine and other features within this area take into consideration not only the physical patient care, but also the psychosocial factors, stressing the importance of this research, as endocrine disorders affect quality of life throughout the transition from childhood into adolescence.