Growth hormone replacement therapy improves cognition

Man in Hospital Bed

We are now beginning to understand that traumatic brain injury may often include damage to the pituitary gland-a small, pea-sized area of the brain that can easily be sheared or obstructed by the bony cradle it sits in. The result of pituitary gland damage can be hypopituitarism (a condition in which the pituitary gland doesn't produce sufficient amount of hormones), more specifically, a growth hormone deficiency.

Clinical studies are now underway to determine the various effects of growth hormone replacement therapy on traumatic brain injury. One such study has found that growth hormone replacement therapy for a year can reverse some of the cognitive deficits common to TBI. As compared to the placebo group, patients who received growth hormone replacement therapy showed improvements in memory, information processing speed, motor speed, and executive functioning tests.

Patients did not report negative side effects of growth hormone replacement therapy, even after a year of continued therapy. It may therefore be a viable addition to rehabilitation efforts in the future.

High WM, Briones-Galang M, Clark JA, et al. Effect of growth hormone replacement therapy on cognition after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma. (June 2010).