Endocrinology

Glenn Braunstein

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Believe it or not, Dr. Glenn Braunstein has been researching the same hormone ever since he entered UC San Francisco Medical School in 1964. Along with two co-workers, his study of chorionic gonadotropin, the hormone used to identify pregnancy, led to the development of the modern-day pregnancy test in 1972.

After working as a clinical associate at the National Institute of Health soon after graduation, Braunstein became chief resident in endocrinology (the study of glands and hormones) at Harbor General Hospital-UCLA and took care of "every kind of patient."

In 1973 he was recruited to develop the endocrinology and metabolism division at Cedars-Sinai. Some of his duties included running the endocrinology clinic and setting up the pathology department's radioimmunoassay, an innovative way to measure hormones at the time. Thirteen years later, Braunstein became the chief of medicine at Cedars-Sinai.

Times have definitely changed for endocrinologists, particularly because of new technologies. Often, patients who undergo ultrasound to test for cardiac problems discover thyroid nodules that otherwise would have gone undetected, and as a result, Braunstein sees more patients with thyroid diseases today than ever before.

In the 1970s, more than half of his patients sought help for reproductive issues, whereas most of today's patients have thyroid problems.

"In the past, most of my patients were women, a small percentage were men, and I also had the occasional hermaphrodite." In fact, Braunstein appeared on "The Montel Williams Show" as an expert on hermaphrodites. (Hermaphroditism is caused by a prenatal hormonal disorder, and is usually corrected immediately after birth with surgery and hormonal treatments.)

In addition to his role in endocrinology, Braunstein is chief of medicine at Cedars-Sinai. In that role, he helped implement the hospital's Integrative Medicine Program, a clinical program that educates physicians and patients about alternative therapies.

Not only does Braunstein have a reputation as a top endocrinologist with a compassionate bedside manner, he's also known as the doctors' doctor. "We all use him because he is the most outstanding physician, who we wholeheartedly trust to care for our loved ones," said Dr. Shlomo Melmed, senior vice president for academic affairs at Cedars-Sinai.

Lisa Boren

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