HGH has been used with some success to combat the weight loss and general wasting characteristic of AIDS and cancer. It is used illegally by bodybuilders and athletes to increase muscle mass. Controversy surrounds its use in normal children who simply want to be taller. In addition, a 1990 medical study that reported the reversal of many of the physiological effects of aging with regular injections of HGH has created a lucrative black market for it and has prompted funding of further trials. There has been no conclusive evidence, however, to support the use of HGH as an anti-aging treatment, and it can cause serious side effects, including diabetes, in older adults.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.