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When Will We Agree on the Origin and Meaning of ‘Wellbeing’?

Published Online: May 14th 2012 US Endocrinology, 2012;8(1):10-1 DOI: http://doi.org/10.17925/USE.2012.08.01.10
Authors: Lewis S Blevins, Robert Knutzen
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Abstract:
Overview

Quality of life is a nebulous term that is applied in medicine to assess the impact of disease states on the overall health of affected patients. It is difficult to measure, subject to interpretation based on the relative experiences of those assessing and reporting it, and there are no assessments or tools available to describe or determine the relative contributions of particular disease states and the affected person’s constitution and pre–morbid state or personality to their quality of life.

Keywords

Quality of life, hormonal disorders, pituitary gland, acromegaly, Cushing

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‘Quality of life’, we believe, is becoming a more esoteric and often confusing term than first intended when it was originated. At one time just being alive constituted a primitive form of ‘quality of life’.

‘Quality of life’, we believe, is becoming a more esoteric and often confusing term than first intended when it was originated. At one time just being alive constituted a primitive form of ‘quality of life’.

As early as 1913, Dr Harvey Cushing, a premier neurosurgeon who was well ahead of his time, uttered the immortal words, “The psychopathology of everyday life most often hinges upon the discharge of the ‘ductless’ gland upon the nervous system.”1 His comments referred to substances, which we now recognise to be hormones that control other glands, produced by the anterior pituitary gland. More importantly, however, he recognised the association between disease states and what we now recognise to be a component of the gestalt of ‘quality of life’. Advances in knowledge in the medical community since that time, and especially the development of ‘instruments’ to measure quality of life for various disease states, gave rise to both confusion and denial in regard to the relevance and importance of such information, most often adversely affecting the patient(s) in question.

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Disclosure

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Correspondence

Lewis S Blevins, MD, California Center for Pituitary Disorders at UCSF, 400 Parnassus Avenue Room A-808, San Francisco, CA 94143-0350, US.

Received

2011-12-02T00:00:00

References

  1. Falta W, The Ductless Glandular Diseases, Philadelphia: P. Blakiston’s Son & Co, 1915;51.
  2. Shalala DE, A message from Donna Shalala. In: US Department of Health and Human Services, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.
  3. US Department of Health and Human Services, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999;8.
  4. US Department of Health and Human Services, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999;9.
  5. Brain PF, Hormonal aspects of aggression and violence. In: Reiss AJ, Miczek KA, Roth JA (eds), Understanding and Preventing Violence – Vol 2: Biobehavioral Influences, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1994;173–244.
  6. Plato, Charmides, or Temperance, 380 BCE;3.

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