Posted on Feb 04, 2009, 1 p.m.
By gary clark
A new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has discovered that growth hormones may be effective in treating morbidly obese patients.
Gastric banding and other weight loss surgery techniques can help reduce body weight and subsequent obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. However, the rapid and sustained weight loss associated with these procedures can cause complications. Among these is the risk of losing lean body and skeletal muscle mass.
The study looked at whether treating patients with growth hormones could prevent or reduce such losses. Specifically, Dr. Silvia Savastano, M.D., Ph.D., researcher at University Federico II of Naples in Italy, and her colleagues studied women who, after having undergone laparoscopic-adjustable silicone gastric banding surgery, were diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. One group of women received the growth hormone, while a second participated in the same diet and exercise regimen but were not given the hormone. Six months later, the researchers determined that those women receiving the growth hormone showed a substantial decrease in fat mass, as well as an increase in muscle mass.
"Besides its more commonly known effect on linear growth during childhood, growth hormone benefits body composition throughout life by increasing muscle mass and reducing fat mass," says Dr. Savastano, who was lead author of the study. "The results of our study show that the use of short-term treatment with growth hormone during a standardized program of low calorie diet and physical exercise is effective in reducing the loss of muscle mass and increasing the loss of fat mass after bariatric surgery." However, she cautions that "growth hormone treatment can be costly and a careful cost-benefit analysis that also takes into account the cost of commonly used therapy for management of morbidly obese patients is needed."News Release: Growth hormone treatment after weight loss surgery prevents loss of muscle mass www.eurekalert.org February 3, 2009