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February 22, 2006

Growth Hormone for “Antiaging”

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(8):888-890. doi:10.1001/jama.295.8.888

To the Editor: The Commentary by Dr Perls and colleagues1 discusses provision or distribution of human growth hormone (HGH or GH) for the purpose of antiaging. Contrary to the authors' belief, antiaging medical doctors do not prescribe uncontrolled and inactive Internet GH products.

Adverse effects of GH on life span have been observed only in transgenic mice that produced supraphysiological levels of GH. In studies on species of normal aging mice, GH treatment extended mean life span.2 In humans, the persistence of GH deficiency throughout adulthood has been reported to substantially increase overall mortality and, in particular, cardiovascular mortality.3,4 In a retrospective study done in Switzerland, the life span was evaluated for adults with isolated GH deficiency due to an underlying 6.7-kb spanning deletion of genomic DNA encompassing the GH-1 gene. Untreated men with this hereditary form of dwarfism died 21 years earlier than their unaffected brothers, and untreated women died 34 years before their unaffected sisters.5 In addition, GH replacement therapy of GH-deficient adults was not associated with increased mortality.6

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