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Human growth hormone use rises, but is it legal?


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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Like many baby boomers over 50, Beth Lothamer was feeling her age.

"I just didn't feel good any more. I wasn't sleeping. I just didn't feel right," she said. She took her concerns to Kansas City, Kansas, endocrinologist, Dr. Jackie Springer, who prescribed replacement hormones, including a daily injection of human growth hormone, or HGH, after two rounds of blood testing.

HGH has been used since the 1950s to help children with growth problems, but it stayed under the radar for other uses until 1990, when Dr. Daniel Rudman reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that men taking a six-month course of HGH reduced their body fat by 14.4 percent while increasing lean muscle mass by 8.8 percent.

The study included just a dozen men, but it inspired a flood of anti-aging literature touting the benefits of growth hormone, along with countless Web sites selling HGH creams and sprays. Endocrinologists say those products though, are worthless; the body can use HGH only when it's injected.

But even as the number of prescriptions soars, the legal status of HGH is fuzzy.

Use for anti-aging is prohibited, and adult patients, like Lothamer, must demonstrate through a blood test that their natural levels are below normal. Selling growth hormone without a prescription can land you in prison for five years and carries a $250,000 fine. The drug has been linked in studies to side effects that include joint pain and swelling. Some say it gets even worse: cancer.

"Growth hormone is secreted in our body to promote cell growth, and cancer is unbridled cell growth," says gerontologist Dr. Thomas Perls, who campaigns vehemently against the use of HGH. "It's basically throwing gasoline on the fire."

A link to cancer, however, has not been proven in humans, only in mice. Research has shown that mice with high levels of growth hormone actually live shorter lives than those with low levels. But the doses in those studies were much higher for body weight than those typically given by anti-aging doctors.


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There are drugs to help kids become more intelligent.

I think it was a chemical that helps brain to function better...

Rich will bcome smarter and the poor .... well more poor ;)

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