You know those moments when you feel proud to be Maltese? Might not come around often… but when it does it surely feels good! Well, this is on of those special times, a Maltese person made me feel proud to be Maltese…

Miguel Debono
Image: researchgate.net

His name is Dr Miguel Debono. He is a UK-based hormone specialist. Miguel Debono is a Consultant in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Acute Medicine. He sees patients with thyroid disorders, reproductive problems, adrenal disease, pituitary disease and late effects. His special interests include glucocorticoids (steroids) and cortisol physiology. His latest achievement? He was the one to make a steroid breakthrough prompted by his concerns linked to the side effects of steroids which have been used by doctors for six decades to help improve patients’ quality of life.

Having just completed his PhD at the University of Sheffield, Dr Debono’s research focused on steroids and the management of steroid-related diseases. He wanted to identify new strategies to restore steroid levels in a way that mirror natural steroid production in the body. Dr Debono is in the process of assessing the use of a new test that will identify patients who lack the ability to produce their own natural body steroids. Such persons are said to be suffering from a condition known as Adrenal Insufficiency (AI). This is when the body is unable to produce cortisol, an essential hormone for overcoming stress, including illness and injury. This rare medical disorder is also known as Addison’s disease, caused by a deficiency of steroids. However Dr Debono is also working on Cushing’s syndrome, a result of excess steroid production.

By studying these conditions he has come up with new treatments that may help the millions of patients who take steroids for any condition thus improving their quality of life and reducing mortality. “These treatments could offer a better life to patients with abnormal levels of cortisol,” he says, adding that the many patients in Malta who are on steroids could potentially benefit from progress in this area.

Congratulations to Dr Debono for his achievements!