Friday, 21 December 2012

Pituitary Awareness Quiz: The Answers

Hola! Well, I'm just back from a spot of festive carol singing at the local pub with my whole family in tow, and I thought: what better time to finally put up the answers to October's National Pituitary Month quiz?


Q.1: Acromegaly is a rare disease caused by a growth-hormone-secreting pituitary tumour, which can lead to gigantism and excessive growth of the body's tissues. But what language is the word "acromegaly" derived from, and what does it literally mean?

Correct answer: c) from the Greek akros "highest; extremity" and megalos "large".


Q.2: Approximately how many (normal-sized) human pituitary glands could you fit in an Olympic-sized swimming pool?

Correct answer: Wildly debateable! Although I did have a correct answer, calculated by my lovely boyfriend on the basis of the human pituitary gland being roughly the size of a pea and assuming that the glands on the bottom retained their shape instead of being pulverized by the weight of the ones on top, I decided to award a point to anyone who showed their working; because it's the effort that counts!


Q.3: Which of these is an alternative name for the pituitary stalk?

Correct answer: c) The infundibular stem


Q.4: The human pituitary gland will vary in size over a person's life. What physiological event (other than untoward tumourousness) causes the pituitary gland to reach its largest natural size... and why?

Correct answer: Pregnancy, although the gland tends to be at its largest shortly after giving birth. This is due to lactotroph hyperplasia; basically that means an increase in the number of cells which secrete the hormone prolactin, which stimulates milk production for breastfeeding.


Q.5: Beta-endorphin is used by the body to numb pain, and is found in the anterior pituitary gland, as well as the hypothalamus. From the extracts of which species' pituitary gland was beta-endorphin first discovered?

Correct answer: d) Camel (apparently!)

Q.6: Only one of the following pituitary-related conditions was first identified by a woman named Cindy. But which one was it?

Correct answer: a) Sheehan Syndrome


Q.7: A five point bonus was awarded for writing a poem about the pituitary: there are no wrong answers!


Q.8: I'm currently receiving monthly lanreotide injections. These are somatostatin analogues - hormone injections - which counteract the effect of my pituitary adenoma producing too much thyroid hormone. Assuming this is the only medication I'm taking, and assuming I live in England... am I allowed to donate blood?

Correct answer: a) Yes


Q.9: Which of the below is the correct spelling of the full name of the pituitary hormone ACTH? (no cheating!)

Correct answer: d) adrenocorticotropic hormone

Q.10: What hormone does my pituitary tumour overproduce?

Correct answer: a) Thyroid stimulating hormone


Q.11: Who is this man, and what does he have to do with the pituitary gland?

Correct answer: Harvey Cushing, pioneering neurosurgeon and the man who discovered Cushing's Syndrome.


So now you know!

The results will be out tomorrow...

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