Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Endocrine talking point?

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, recently announced that the noticeable weight loss he's had over the last year are due to a treatable "hormone imbalance." He further stated that he is not on his deathbed, as had been rumored.

Click here for the story.

Some of you probably covered the endocrine system at the end of last term. Some are about to start it. Either way, now would be a good time to bring up the term "hormone imbalance" to trigger a discussion of what in the world that could mean.

A lot of folks, including physicians, throw this term "hormone imbalance" around as if it is a complete explanation. Which hormone(s)? What kind of imbalance? What are the causes and effects of the imbalance? (the story gives some clues, but not many)

Based on the little information that is currently available, it may be hard to guess what the answers are. But it may be instructive to try out several possible scenarios for the sake of discussion. Just like they do on the TV series House. Except I'd try to avoid being an ass like Dr. House . . . if at all possible.

Another discussion may also be appropriate (depending on the goals of your course) regarding health privacy. Does Jobs owe the public a detailed account of his current health issues? What about his company's board? Investors?

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