X-Message-Number: 242
From: Kevin Q. Brown
Subject: Lessons of HGH 
Date: 23 Oct 1990

I have appended below (with permission from Thomas Donaldson) an article
from Periastron titled "Lessons of HGH".  For those subscribers who are
wondering when the next issue will arrive, Thomas has the following message:

    "... PERIASTRON is still very much alive: it's just gone into hibernation
    because of the volume of publicity/radio talk shows/TV shows/letters I'm
    currently dealing with because of my law case.  But if they paid for 12
    issues they will get 12 issues (I worded the subscription agreements as
    I did just to take account of this possibility!).  In fact, interesting
    things have been happening.  But I remain just as well as before and my
    tumor remains stable."
                                       - Kevin Q. Brown

PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
$2.50 / issue

Lessons of HGH
Thomas Donaldson
Periastron, Vol. 1, No. 2

By now it hasn't been very long since the media has widely reported the
recent experiments on human growth hormone (first reported and discussed
in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 5 July issue).  Most readers probably
recall the details: regular injections of growth hormone significantly
improved muscle mass and skin condition in older men.  Currently HGH
(human growth hormone) costs far too much, but that cost will soon fall.
Many people will take it, even by inconvenient injections, and even if
the FDA objects.

Yet this discovery has other lessons behind it.  Its wild public reception
has still more.

One organ, the pituitary, makes HGH.  The pituitary links tightly to one
special brain region, the hypothalamus, physically and chemically.  For
decades now, some scientists have explored links between the hypothalamus,
the pituitary, and aging.  One gerontologist, J. Meites, had already shown
in rats the essential principle used by the NEJM article itself: with age,
production of GH shuts down (J. Meites, EXP GERONTOLOGY 23 (1988) 349).
But Meites isn't alone: Arthur Everitt, Dilman, and Segall also try to work
in this field.

These scientists all find arrows pointing to the hypothalamus and pituitary
as central to aging.  Even L-Dopa and Deprenyl point this way: just guess
which brain regions are among those these drugs affect.  Showing that HGH
improves one symptom of aging just makes one more arrow.

Yet many others look elsewhere.  Certainly full immortality needs far more
than a bit of HGH.  Yet if we wish to find, SOON, treatments for any symptom
of aging, ALL of these arrows point to the hypothalamus and pituitary.  Some
flash very brightly.  Others need sharp eyes to see.  But that they are ALL
pointing to those two regions should impress any immortalist.

But the publicity tells us something else more sobering.  What most impressed
the newspapers was the immediate effect of HGH.  Few articles even mentioned
lifespan.  Immortality is a long project.  Even to search for means to
immortality may demand of the seeker a sense of time and confrontation with
death which many, even scientists, cannot bear.

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=242