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      Effects of physiological growth hormone (GH) therapy on cognition and quality of life in patients with adult-onset GH deficiency.

      The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
      Adult, Cognition, Double-Blind Method, Human Growth Hormone, adverse effects, deficiency, therapeutic use, Humans, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, metabolism, Male, Middle Aged, Pituitary Diseases, complications, Placebos, Quality of Life, Time Factors

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          GH replacement of adults with acquired GH deficiency (GHD) results in body composition changes including increases in lean mass and bone mineral density. However, the effects of long-term GH therapy on cognitive function are largely unknown, and there are conflicting data regarding quality of life. We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of GH replacement in adults with GHD and measured cognition and sense of well-being using standardized psychometric tests before and after therapy. Forty men (median age 51 yr, range 24-64 yr) with a history of pituitary disease were randomized to GH therapy (starting dose, 10 +/- 0.3 micrograms/kg per day: mean treatment dose, 4 +/- 2 micrograms/kg per day) vs. placebo for 18 months, and GH doses were adjusted according to serum insulin growth factor-I levels. At baseline, the patients displayed a full-scale intelligence quotient (IQ) score nearly 1 SD above the normal mean. Mean scores on all cognitive tests fell within normal limits, and on many tests, fell above the mean. On tests of verbal learning and delayed visual memory, mean test scores fell below the mean (although within normal limits), suggestive of a relative compromise in the area of memory performance. Following 18 months of GH replacement therapy, there were no significant changes in cognitive function or quality of life. We conclude that acquired GHD in adult men is not associated with significant alterations in cognitive function as assessed by standardized tests, and chronic low-dose GH replacement therapy does not result in significant beneficial effects on cognitive function or quality of life. Although previous studies have suggested that GH replacement in adults with acquired GHD may improve quality of life, our data do not support the use of physiological GH replacement in GHD men for this indication.

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