Does your pet pick up when you're unwell? We mark Women In Science Day by celebrating the work of a previous research grant recipient, Endocrine Nurse Helen Loo and her research into Cortisol Alert Dogs.

Women in Science Day

We are grateful to so many women within the scientific community for their contributions to the diagnosis, treatment, and care of people with Addison's Disease. Today, on Women In Science day we salute them all - from researchers to nurses, endocrinologists to those developing new medical devices. 

Helen receiving the Annette Louise Seal Memorial Award from the Addison’s Disease Self-Help Group at SfE BES 2019, alongside (far left) Dr Helen Turner (Consultant Endocrinologist, Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism), Alison (ADSHG volunteer), Helen Loo, Deana (ADSHG Founder & Patron). ©H Loo

One of these wonderful women, Endocrine Specialist Nurse Helen Loo (pictured above), received our Annette Louis Seal Award for her work in creating a poster at the 2019 Society For Endocrinology BES Conference back in November. Helen's poster outlined findings from her study (with a team of fellow researchers) into the ability of alert dogs to be successfully trained to detect low cortisol levels in patients with Addison's disease.

Helen tells us: The questionnaire showed multiple benefits of having this type of dog. These include enhanced levels of independence, confidence, calmness and well-being. In the patient’s words, ‘the increased confidence I felt in not missing low cortisol levels made me feel less scared to be on my own and that I’m not taking too much cortisol’.

Preliminary data suggested that a medical alert assistance dog can be successfully trained to detect low cortisol levels. The patient’s ability to manage steroid requirements was optimised; her quality of life demonstrated significant improvement."

"As an Endocrine Specialist Nurse, this has greatly motivated me, as I have seen the positive impact on patient care and outcomes for this rare, specialist group of patients. I am excited about the future developments and research, which we plan to direct from Oxford, and which the Addison’s Disease Self-Help Group and the charity Medical Detection Dogs are keen to support."

ADSHG Research Awards

If you are interested in undertaking medical research into areas related to Addison's Disease, we have awards available to support eligible projects. Areas we support include:

  • Projects that will advance good clinical practice in the management of Addison’s disease
  • Early-career medical/nursing researchers (less than 5 years post Ph.D.), wishing to pursue a project with relevance to Addison’s disease or steroid-dependency
  • Innovations and best practice in emergency medicine concerning adrenal insufficiency and adrenal crisis
  • Nurse-led research projects that advance steroid awareness and patient safety submitted as a poster to the Society for Endocrinology's BES conference.

Explore our available ADSHG research awards.

Our charity is at the forefront of medical research into Addison's Disease. Help us fund medical researchers working in this important but sometimes overlooked field of endocrine research. Please share this story with any researchers and students you know from related fields who might benefit from research funding from the ADSHG.

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