Fourteen children receiving one year of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) treatment underwent measurement of serial changes in body composition (measured by skinfold thickness, bioelectrical impedance, and H2(18)O dilution), resting energy expenditure (REE, estimated by ventilated hood indirect calorimetry), and total free living daily energy expenditure (TEE, measured by the doubly labelled water technique). Mean height velocity increased from 4.9 to 8.6 cm/year after six months of treatment. Fat free mass (FFM) increased more during the first six weeks (24.4 g/day) than from six to 26 weeks of treatment (6.8 g/day); fat mass decreased by 7.2 g/day and 1.1 g/day respectively. The six week increase in REE (kJ/day) was maintained after six months of treatment, though expressed per kilogram FFM (kJ/kgFFM/day), returned to pretreatment values by three months. Height velocity increases at six months correlated with six week changes in fat mass measured by skinfold thickness and REE, though use of this relationship to predict growth response in individuals is limited by the wide 95% prediction intervals. No significant changes in growth, body composition, or energy expenditure were observed between six and 12 months of treatment, in either patients who had initially responded well to treatment or those who were poor initial responders to treatment and who had their dose of rhGH doubled after six months.
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