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Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy Study

CNS - Center for Neurological Studies > Brain Injury Programs > Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy Study

A body of medical research continues to link the repetitive head injuries incurred by football players with lasting brain damage and CNS is proud to be contributing to that research. Since the National Football League agreed to compensate for the care and treatment of its retired players, CNS has conducted imaging scans and neurobehavioral evaluations with a number of these former players.

If you’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury while playing football, CNS may be able to assist you with a diagnosis. Whether you played professionally, at the collegiate level, or as a high school or club amateur, please contact us for more information.

Dr. Benson shared his experience in applying advanced neuroimaging to former football players before a specially convened U.S. House of Representatives’ committee exploring legal issues related to football head injuries.

Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy Study

Currently, CNS is studying the efficacy of using Human Growth Hormone to treat traumatic brain injuries in former NFL players. Growing awareness of concussions and repetitive head injuries have led researchers to explore ways to reverse the impact of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Among these treatments is human growth hormone replacement therapy (HGHRT).

“There is consensus in the medical community that many former professional athletes are at risk for cognitive and psychiatric impairment that results in a deficiency in one or more hormones that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life,” says Randall Benson, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director at CNS and lead investigator on the study.

CNS is conducting a placebo-controlled interventional study in growth hormone deficient former athletes in order to reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life.  Based on a previous pilot study, and experience with hundreds of patients treated for trauma-induced pituitary hormone insufficiency, “we expect that there will be significant improvement in symptom burden and quality of life for our study participants,” Benson says.

CNS has embarked on its own research into HGHRT with retired professional football players. In the earlier pilot study, CNS provided 15 former athletes with endocrine testing that showed 14 of them with growth hormone deficiency.  Eleven of those 14 showed a marked reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life after hormone replacement protocols were applied. 

These early, promising observations add to the hypothesis that former football players with symptoms commonly associated with repetitive head injuries—insomnia, impaired memory, suicidal ideation, fatigue, anxiety, and others—can have a dramatically improved quality of life with HGHRT.

“CNS has unique capabilities and understanding of the brain that have helped a number of former athletes, including me, get their lives back on track,” says CNS ambassador and former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple.

“It’s still very early in the process, but we’re excited about the opportunity to further test our theories,” says John Russell, founder and CEO of Center for Neurological Studies.  “The results can apply well beyond athletes and help the hundreds of thousands of others who suffer TBIs annually in non-sports related accidents.  This is an often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed problem and growth hormone replacement therapy could be a big part of the solution.”

Learn about participating in this study.

Funding this Research

CNS seeks funding to broaden this research using clinical research methods. A core control group will receive HGHRT in the first year, while a placebo group will receive HGHRT in the second year. Several tests will be conducted prior to the study, including testing to ensure the subject is right for this research and testing to determine a participant’s cognitive and psychological functioning.

Based on preliminary results, CNS expects this study will be successful on many levels. If successful, plans are to broaden the research to include Veterans who have experienced bomb blasts and victims of motor vehicle accidents.

Publication of the findings in peer-reviewed journals would likely lead to greater acceptance of the benefits of HGHRT in treating brain injury.

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