Pediatric endocrinology is a branch of medicine. It deals with the physical growth and sexual development of children and adolescents. These doctors also diagnose, manage and treat diabetes and other disorders of the endocrine glands in children ranging from infancy to adolescence. Some specific disorders and conditions a pediatric endocrinologist may diagnose or treat include adrenal hypoplasia, androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, cerebral salt-wasting syndrome (CSWS), Graves disease, glucocorticoid therapy and Cushing syndrome, hypophosphatemic rickets, Laron syndrome, McCune-Albright syndrome and Nelson syndrome.
Pediatric endocrinologists deal with type 1 diabetes. This disease makes up at least half the cases a general clinic practice will manage. Other more common problems pediatric endocrinologists typically treat are growth disorders, intersex disorders, hypoglycemia, issues with puberty, obesity and thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal problems. Pediatric endocrinologists may also specialize in inborn errors of the metabolism, adolescent gynecology, lipid metabolism and bone metabolism.
Typically this type of endocrinologist completes four years of medical school, three years of medical residency, and three years or more of fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology in order to practice. They may establish their practices in a variety of locations, including children's hospitals, community hospitals, private offices, and university medical centers. If a child requires the services of an endocrinologist, his or her regular pediatrician will normally make a referral.
Lawson Wilkins, an American physician and professor of pediatrics, is credited as the pioneer of pediatric endocrinology. From the late 1940s to the mid-1960s he created the department at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the Harriet Lane Home in Baltimore. Born to a general practitioner, Wilkins devoted his clinic to problems of growth and genetics. His book The Diagnosis and Treatment of Endocrine Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence became a reference for pediatric endocrinologists everywhere.
Pediatric endocrinologists in the United States may belong to the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society. Other international professional organizations include the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group, the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology, and the Japanese Society for Pediatric Endocrinology. Nurses who specialize in pediatric endocrinology may belong to the Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society.
Many nonprofit organizations and other societies that promote research and funding for endocrinology projects, as well as aid for patients. These include the Magic Foundation for Children's Growth, the Human Growth Foundation, Turner Syndrome Society and the Endocrine Society. Some endocrinology publications include Endocrine Today, the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, and the International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology.