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Metabolic Syndrome: Could it be Cushing’s Disease?

Presented with philanthropic support from the Cushing’s Disease Awareness Fund.

This program happened in the past, and no dates are currently scheduled.

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Cushing disease/syndrome is a relatively rare condition resulting from adrenal cortisol overproduction. It is associated with significant morbidity (e.g., venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, stroke, peptic ulcers, fractures and infections) and increased mortality. Early diagnosis is critical; however, many of the early clinical manifestations of Cushing, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and fatigue, are common among the population at large. Screening everyone who presents with these common conditions is not practical or cost-effective, so it is challenging to identify which patients to screen. Consequently, in many patients with Cushing, the diagnosis is either delayed or missed, with disastrous clinical outcomes. Awareness of which clinical clues should raise the suspicion of Cushing will inform which patients should be screened, leading to an early diagnosis and treatment.


This activity is designed for physicians in family medicine, internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. Advanced practice providers, resident physicians and medical students will also benefit from attending this activity.


This activity is presented with philanthropic support from the Cushing’s Disease Awareness Fund, established by grateful patient Marie Conley in 2018. Marie was an active professional with a busy family life when she suddenly began to experience multiple seemingly unrelated health issues over a two-year period: a fractured hip, significant weight gain and pneumonia. It took ten specialists and hundreds of tests to finally diagnose Marie with the rare disease known as Cushing’s. To help other patients facing the same diagnosis, Marie established the Cushing’s Disease Awareness Fund at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine to educate medical professionals and students to recognize the complex symptoms of Cushing’s Disease.


  • 3:30 p.m. | Check-In
  • 3:55 p.m. | Welcome
  • 4 p.m. | Cushing’s Syndrome: When and How To Test
    Lynnette Nieman, MD

    • Compare and contrast the screening tests for Cushing’s syndrome to individualize each patient’s evaluation.
    • Differentiate between signs and symptoms that are common in the general population and those that are most specific to Cushing’s syndrome.
  • 5 p.m. | Adjournment


Lynnette Nieman, MD

Senior Investigator
Chief, Endocrinology Consult Service
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
National Institutes of Health

Recipient of the Sidney H. Ingbar Distinguished Service Award

This award recognizes distinguished service to the Endocrine Society and the field of endocrinology. Nieman is a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she served as the associate program director of the Inter-Institute Endocrinology Training Program for 12 years and is currently chief of the Adult Endocrinology Consult Service. Her research focus is on adrenal gland disorders and disorders of female reproduction. She has contributed to the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome and phase II/III studies of ulipristol acetate, leading to the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) approval for the treatment of fibroids and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the EMA’s approval for emergency contraception. For over 25 years, she has held leadership positions at the Endocrine Society, most notably as Society President in 2017-2018. During her presidency, she led the Strategic Plan and Governance Task forces that created the Endocrine Society’s current fourth Strategic Plan and revised its Governance structure. She has served on numerous committees, including chairing the Annual Meeting Steering Committee and the Clinical Endocrinology Update Committee. She was a member of the Nominating Committee, the Publications Core Committee, and the Research Affairs Core Committee. She was also an associate editor of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. She is currently the chair of the Society’s Clinical Practice Guideline Task Forces for the diagnosis and treatment of Cushing’s syndrome.


Penn State College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Penn State College of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


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