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Jaime Guevara-Aguirre with patients who have Laron syndrome  (Source:
A 22-year study of those with Laron syndrome in the Andes mountains leads researchers to believe that a deficiency in growth hormone activity can help prevent cancer and diabetes

Valter Longo, a cell biologist from the University of Southern California, and Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, an endocrinologist from Ecuador, conducted a 22-year study that revealed that those with Laron disease are less susceptible to cancer and diabetes

The 22-year study consisted of Longo and Guevara-Aguirre following a remote community in the Andes Mountains. Several of the members of this community have Laron syndrome, which is a deficiency in a gene that stops the body from utilizing growth hormone. Researchers followed 100 people with Laron syndrome along with 1,600 relatives of "normal stature."

Longo and Guevara-Aguirre found that those with Laron disease did not develop diabetes over the 22-year period, and only one non-lethal case of cancer was diagnosed. As far as the 1,600 relatives go, 5 percent developed diabetes in the same time period while 17 percent were diagnosed with cancer. 

"The growth hormone receptor-deficient people don't get two of the major diseases of aging," said Longo. "They also have a very low incidence of stroke, but the number of deaths from stroke is too small to determine whether it's significant." 

Since both groups were exposed to the same genetic and environmental risk factors, the researchers have a reason to believe that growth hormone activity in adults who are beyond their growing years can be harmful. 

While those with Laron syndrome seem to dodge two of humanity's most common diseases, the lifespan for both groups were about the same. According to the researchers, the family members with Laron syndrome tend to die from substance abuse and accidents more than anything else. 

"Although all the growth hormone deficient subjects we met appear to be relatively happy and normal and are known to have normal cognitive function, there are a lot of strange causes of death, including many that are alcohol-related," said Longo. 

At this time, it is not fully understood how growth hormone deficiency protects people from certain diseases, but Longo found that serum from a subject with Laron syndrome protects DNA from oxidative mutations and damage, yet also causes the suicide of severely damaged cells. Those with Laron syndrome have very low insulin levels as well as low insulin resistance, which could explain why they do not become diabetic.  

Researchers plan to use the information from this 22-year study to create drugs that are capable of reducing growth hormone activity, but there are many precautions and risks that need to be assessed before developing such treatment. For instance, the treatment would need to show milder effects than drugs used against a "confirmed disease." Also, it would have to be used for preventative reduction of growth hormone in adults with high hormone activity in order to bring it to a normal level, and not to the low levels of those with Laron syndrome, which could produce even more problems for the individual. In addition, the treatment would be used only on those with a history of diabetes or cancer at first.

Presently, there are already FDA-approved growth hormone-blocking drugs strictly used for the treatment of acromegaly, which is closely related to gigantism. Also, mice studies conducted by John Kopchick have shown that the life of a mouse can be extended by 40 percent when the growth hormone is blocked. Kopchick also found that growth factor deficiency led to reduced tumor risk in mice. 

According to Longo, drug treatments are not the only way to reduce growth hormone activity. Natural methods like restricting calories and proteins in the diet seem to have a similar effect. But the study also added that restricting specific nutrients could have adverse effects as well, causing more harm than good. 

Longo and Guevara-Aguirre now plan to seek approval for a clinical trial to test preventative growth hormone-reducing drugs on patients undergoing chemotherapy, since mouse models and human cells have been protected against chemical damage in previous studies. They hope this can lead to effective drugs that can prevent cancer and diabetes, and help others live similarly to the way those with Laron syndrome do in the Andes Mountains - disease free.  

"It's the dream of every administration, anywhere in the world," said Longo. "You live a long healthy life, and then you drop dead."

This study was published in Science Translational Medicine.

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HGH isnt all bad...
By dsumanik on 2/18/2011 8:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
Wierd... from my understanding increased HGH levels help reduce the body's ability to store fat, has a mild thermogenic effect, increases skin elasticity and clarity, and increases connective tissue and bone density and can increase lean muscle mass.

Why else all the peeps in hollywood on it?

How can 46 year old women look better than most girls in thier 20's?

More research needsto be done.

Most bodybuilders take a cocktail of hgh, a steroid like stanozol, and a stimulant to increase metabolism like clenbuterol. The extreme ones will also use controlled/timed insulin injections.

RE: HGH isnt all bad...
By Flunk on 2/18/2011 9:01:56 AM , Rating: 2
Which is why being a bodybuilder is such a severe health risk.

RE: HGH isnt all bad...
By tastyratz on 2/18/2011 9:44:48 AM , Rating: 2
Being a bodybuilder is not a severe health risk.
Abusing any substance without understanding and education on its repercussions is a severe health risk.

Not all bodybuilders take hazardous treatments to achieve their desired goals, and not all those who do are eating pills by the handful without any education.

The ones you read about in the news are the ones who take something they don't understand, just like any other person irresponsibly taking many other drugs.

Those who are not irresponsible tend to be some of the healthiest members of society. If only the rest of the population did 5% of the exercise.

RE: HGH isnt all bad...
By Mitch101 on 2/18/2011 10:51:51 AM , Rating: 2
If only the rest of the population did 5% of the exercise.

I hated it when people assumed I took a magic pill that got me into the shape erasing the hard work/discipline I actually did to get there.

Today there is so much working against people getting into shape today. Too many overnight miracle items to make a quick buck and plain wrong information replace hard work and education today. I would blame food companies to a degree but you can find more truth if you read the ingredients vs taking what 90% fat free really means or the even worse 50% reduced fat over regular. But then you have to understand what your eating why and when you do.

If you get with someone who knows their stuff you wont ever be starving during a diet and you wont care about your weight as much as what you look like in the mirror. The scale is useless without body fat measurements to tell you what you lost.

RE: HGH isnt all bad...
By Mitch101 on 2/18/2011 9:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
Problem is erasing the last 30 years of bad history the media has given the entire category. Forget any advancements since then and focus on unrelated deaths (Lyle) and those who were using them for 20+ years for their sports careers. Because anyone who has seen one is in the same category as above.

I hope they overcome the bad press and focus on new advancements because I dont want to be 80 and need assistance to use the bathroom. When Im that old jack me up on HGH or whatever is out there at the time so I can maintain myself.

I know one person right now on hormone therapy replacement and one would think the guy would have become a bigger jerk. He was very de-motivational and negative with a touch of sarcasm in nearly everything he said. The funny part is since treatment he became very upbeat, optimistic, and quite helpful in many ways. Its having quite a positive effect on him.

RE: HGH isnt all bad...
By someguy123 on 2/19/2011 4:17:30 AM , Rating: 2
Probably thanks to the extra (original?) energy he's getting from proper hormone levels.

I've had similar issues with test levels and getting them elevated to proper amounts helped so much. Sad that the small amount (comparatively) of users who abused steroids ruined society's image of testosterone enhancement in general.

RE: HGH isnt all bad...
By bentheman939 on 2/18/2011 12:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
There are arguments on both sides: If HGH and other signalling molecules are only good and never bad, why don't we constitutively pump them out like crazy throughout our life? On the other hand, from an evolutionary perspective, we only need to be healthy until we reproduce; there is no incentive to keep the elderly around forever. We might not naturally produce hormones like HGH simply because there is no (evolutionary) point. We are supposed to die and make way for new people.

One thing is for sure though - cancer is basically caused by our own metabolism. The free radicals spit out when we metabolise food cumulatively damages our cells; eventually resulting in cancer and death. Laron syndrome greatly reduces the amount of metabolically active muscle tissue, and overall energy requirements, explaining the lower cancer rates.

the body is always growing.
By RedemptionAD on 2/18/2011 8:37:28 AM , Rating: 1
The body is always growing to repair itself. And by the deaths being substance abuse or accidents of the people with Laron's disease it seems as though their iq has fallen substantially as a result. Not worth the trade. no cancer or diabetes, but dumb as a rock. The real problem would be over generations the intellect would fall over each generation.

RE: the body is always growing.
By tastyratz on 2/18/2011 9:48:59 AM , Rating: 2
yea they are dumb as a rock


Maybe they are more prone to substance abuse due to the stress and torment of their peers due to their disease?
I would drink more too if kids laughed and pointed fingers at me, the "midget".

Accidents also are not just a measure of intelligence but fine motor/muscle control. I would argue that a lack of growth hormone may lead to an improperly developed musculature system.

RE: the body is always growing.
By Mitch101 on 2/18/2011 10:56:28 AM , Rating: 2
Dont think there are many gyms that would work for them either slightly limiting their options but like you I believe motor/muscle control would be an even bigger limiter.

By RedemptionAD on 2/18/2011 6:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
A sign of intellect is knowing your physical limits and compensating accordingly to avoid accidents, being more cautious or moving slower or faster in certain areas. The proneness to substance abuse also indicates lack of intellect because last I checked substance abuse was a choice. Abuse of it would indicate a not so smart choice especially when it would get to the point of death.

A remote population ?
By William Gaatjes on 2/19/2011 7:34:15 AM , Rating: 2
What i am interested in is :
What kind of diet do these people have ?
What kind of environment ?
How is the genetics ?
Those are important questions.
What are the specific pathogens living in those isolated places ?
It is not uncommon for people living in isolated villages to have or lack certain features.

By highlander2107 on 2/20/2011 12:18:54 AM , Rating: 2
"Shooting yourself in the head may prevent headaches"

conclusion discrepancy
By Queonda on 2/18/2011 8:01:04 PM , Rating: 1
I think the correlation has less to do with growth hormone and more to do with diet. How many of these people have daily access to McDonald's and a TV remote?

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