HJAR Mar/Apr 2020

26 MAR / APR 2020  I  HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF ARKANSAS   Healthcare Briefs Endocrinologist Dr. Adam Maass and Nurse Practitioner Melanie Sutton join Northwest Endocrinology Adam Maass, MD, an endocrinologist who has served patients in Northwest Arkansas since 2004, joined Northwest Health. He and affiliated Nurse Practitioner Melanie Sutton are seeing patients at Northwest Endocrinology. The practice is located at 4301 Greathouse Springs Road, Suite 100, in Johnson. Maass is board-certified in endocrinology. He has served as an adjunct clinical professor at Uni- versity of Arkansas for Medicine Sciences since 2006. He earned a medical degree from Rosa- lind Franklin University of Medicine and Science then completed a residency in internal medi- cine at University of Colorado School of Medi- cine. He completed a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at University of Indiana School of Medicine. Sutton is a nurse practitioner specializing in endocrinology who has been seeing patients in Northwest Arkansas since 2007. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wichita State University and both her master’s degree in nurs- ing and her doctorate of nursing practice from University of Missouri-Kansas City. She served in the United States Army Reserve from 1986-2010, retiring as a Major from the Army Nurse Corp. Rheumatologist Joins Conway Regional Multispecialty Clinic Swetha Boddeda, MD, rheumatologist, has joined the team at Conway Regional Health System. Boddeda is practicing alongside Alok Surana, MD, pulmonologist, and Rachana Yen- dala, MD, hematologist/oncologist, at the Con- way Regional Multispecialty Clinic. Boddeda specializes in the diagnosis and treat- ment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions. “The addition of Dr. Boddeda’s practice will greatly increase access to rheumatology services for our community,” said Rebekah Fincher, chief administrative officer of Conway Regional. “The Multispecialty Clinic offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to care in one conve- nient location at the Conway Regional Medical Center.” Boddeda received her internal medicine resi- dency training at the Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital. She then went on to com- plete her rheumatology fellowship at the Univer- sity of Mississippi Medical Center, where she received the SAFMR Fellow merit award. “I am proud to join Dr. Surana and Dr. Yendala in establishing the Multispecialty Clinic,” said Boddeda. “I am excited for the opportunity to work for Conway Regional, and I look forward to serving the patients of this community.” Research Highlights Link Between PTSD fromCombat, Thyroid Function Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have found a poten- tial link between PTSD in combat veterans and changes in thyroid function. Spyridoula Maraka, MD, is an assistant profes- sor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metab- olism in the Department of Internal Medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine and staff physi- cian at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS). She and her research fellow, Freddy J.K. Toloza, MD, presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association. Their research was also featured in the Endocrine Daily Briefing and Clinical Endo- crinology News . Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects six to nine percent of the U.S. population but is closer to 20 percent among veterans. People with PTSD have difficulty with physical and emotional symptoms after witnessing a life-threatening or terrifying event. PTSD can linger for years, with triggering events bringing back unwanted mem- ories or symptoms. “Treatments exist, but there is a lot of room for improvement,” Maraka said. “Researchers have long noticed a potential link between endocrine disorders like thyroid disease and psychiatric con- ditions like depression and anxiety. Though the suggestion of a link is controversial because it has not been completely explained, the goal of our research was to explore this connection by look- ing at thyroid function and PTSD.” Maraka, Toloza, and collaborators performed a meta-analysis, which is a type of research in which no new experiments are performed, rather researchers take the results of many other stud- ies, combine them and look for patterns. In this case, they found 10 previous studies about PTSD and thyroid function involving 674 participants. For their first analysis of the data, they found that the patients with PTSD had higher levels of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) than those without PTSD, or the control group. They decided to dive deeper into the data, and a sec- ond analysis compared people with combat- related PTSD to the control group separately from people with other PTSD types. “What we found surprised us,” Maraka said. “The correlation was the strongest between T3 hormonal levels and the combat-PTSD group. In fact, once we looked at the data in this way, it became clear that the combat group was the main driver of the correlation. The combat group continued having higher T3 levels compared to the control group, but people with non-combat- PTSD were not different than the control group.” Maraka stressed that the finding is merely an association and not proof of a cause. However, it does tell researchers that they should investigate further in this area. A medication that could tar- get one or both issues could emerge as a more effective treatment for PTSD than those currently available. For her next step, Maraka plans to con- duct a study testing thyroid markers in veterans with combat-related PTSD. “This could teach us more about how the body adapts to stressful situations, both mentally and hormonally,” Maraka said. “It’s possible that there is a difference between PTSD that devel- ops from long-term exposures to life-threaten- ing stress, like combat, and brief exposures, like a Swetha Boddeda, MD