Growth hormone helps cognition in some older adults

Bloomberg News reports, “Healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) given a drug that spurs hormones important to normal brain function had improved concentration, decision-making skills and verbal memory,” according to a study published in the Archives of Neurology.

“The healthy adults given Theratechnologies Inc. (TH)’s Egrifta [tesamorelin], a drug that spurs the release of human growth hormone, had executive function improvements that were more than 100 percent greater than those in a placebo group, while verbal memory improvements were 50 percent greater,” said the study’s lead author.

“In all, 137 adults, including 61 with mild cognitive impairment, completed the current study,” HealthDay reports. “The study volunteers were between 55 and 87 years old, with an average age of 68, according to the study.”

Participants were randomized “to receive a daily self-administered injection of growth hormone-releasing hormone or a placebo injection for 20 weeks.”

MedPage Today reports, “The benefit was driven by significantly better executive function and a trend toward better verbal memory, although visual memory was not changed,” the study found.

MedPage Today explains that growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) “stimulates release of growth hormone from the pituitary, in a pulsatile fashion, which in turn causes the release of insulin-like growth factor 1 from the liver, the researchers noted. All three ‘have potent effects on brain function, their levels decrease with advancing age, and they likely play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease,'” the study authors wrote.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health as well as by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Reuters also covers the story.

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