It is highlighted in a search of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, which in healthy nonagenarians is much easier to have levels of insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) low rather than high; these levels have been linked with improved survival.
The results are compared to recent trends that have always used growth hormone as an anti-aging panacea.
In general, in this very elderly population, women with levels of IGF-1 below the average, had a significantly longer survival than women with levels of IGF-1 than average, but this was not true for men.
But for the elderly survivors of tumour diseases, in which the benefit was stronger, the effect was observed in both sexes: those who had values of IGF-1 below the media had a tendency to live significantly longer compared to those whose levels were below it.
Because growth hormone levels decline with age, some scientists have begun to propose the use of growth hormones in the elderly to slow aging and prevent age-related diseases.
This study, however, shows the opposite: the lower the IGF-1 – which is a product of growth hormone – the higher is the survival.
This study provides further evidence against the rationale for the treatment of older adults with the administration of growth hormone as a strategy “antiaging”.
To investigate this theory, they enrolled 184 nonagenarians who lived in communities – some in nursing homes – in the north-eastern United States.
It is preferred to choose this population because many individuals with high longevity have a later onset of age-related diseases, and altered IGF-1 may partly explain this relationship.
Study participants were divided into two groups:
- 93 had low levels of IGF-1, equal to or less than average.
- 91 had high levels of IGF-1, above the average.
The participants had an average age of about 96.8 years, and about three-quarters were women. Less than a quarter of the study subjects had a history of cancer.
The most important result was the relationship between the levels of IGF-1 and survival: it was stronger among those who had survived the malignant tumour.
The observation showed that survival was greater in women with low levels of IGF-1, but not in men, certainly because of some genetic or hormonal differences between the sexes.
The IGF-1 is a potent stimulator of cell growth and proliferation and is connected with the tumour, so people with cancer and low levels of IGF-1 would be required to survive longer.
The GH strategy in the elderly is right?