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Human Growth Hormone

Growth Hormone May Ease Crohns Disease

20 years, 3 months ago

9711  0
Posted on Nov 10, 2003, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Crohn's Disease, a disorder of the digestive tract causing persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, bleeding and breakdown of the intestinal wall, has no known cure, though drugs can ease symptoms in some patients. The cause of Crohn's is unknown, but one theory is that infections or hereditary factors weaken the intestinal wall, making it more susceptible to inflammation and tissue breakdown when it comes in contact with disease-causing organisms.

Crohn's Disease, a disorder of the digestive tract causing persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, bleeding and breakdown of the intestinal wall, has no known cure, though drugs can ease symptoms in some patients. The cause of Crohn's is unknown, but one theory is that infections or hereditary factors weaken the intestinal wall, making it more susceptible to inflammation and tissue breakdown when it comes in contact with disease-causing organisms. An exaggerated immune response may also play a role.

Dr. Alfred Slonim of North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y and colleagues based their research on previous studies indicating that growth hormone improved intestinal repair in patients who had part of their bowels surgically removed. Slonim theorized that growth hormone may rebuild and strengthen the intestinal wall. A high-protein diet provides the building blocks for tissue repair. In his study, Slonim found that in 19 adults treated with growth hormone while on a high-protein diet , 11 went into remission. Of the 14 patients who improved, virtually all said their abdominal pain disappeared. They also reported less diarrhea. Side effects were mild. Of the 19 in the study, an additional three others saw significant improvement. As a control, eighteen patients took a dummy drug while on a high-protein diet -- none reported any changes to their digestive habits. Growth hormone appeared almost as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug infliximab, the only medication approved specifically for Crohn's disease. Slonim's study, however, did not perform exams to see whether the intestinal tissue was healthier.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: New England Journal of Medicine, June 1, 2000

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