How Growth Hormone Helps Cognition in Dementia

Here’s an interesting study out of the University of Washington: Shots of growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) resulted in significant improvements in cognitive performance compared with placebo. This occurred in people with mild cognitive impairment as well as in healthy individuals.

Growth hormone is normally secreted mostly during deep (Stage 3) sleep. It’s known that Stage 3 sleep diminishes gradually as one gets older. If you also accept that fact that the incidence of obstructive sleep apnea increases significantly as you get older (62% in people over 65 in one study), then it makes sense that giving something that stimulate growth hormone will improve memory and cognitive abilities. Deep sleep is when your muscles become more relaxed, and more prone to obstructed breathing. Whether these obstructions lead to true apneas or micro-arousals, the end result is disrupted sleep taking you out of Stage 3 sleep.

You’ll see more studies linking sleep-breathing disorders and dementia in the coming months and years.

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2 thoughts on “How Growth Hormone Helps Cognition in Dementia

  1. Did you watch Dr. Stasha Gominak’s YouTube videos? She talks about hGH being released in a pulsatile way during slow wave sleep, which makes sense. Grow when you’re paralyzed at night, not when you’re moving around during the day.

    Also this made news in Canada:

    Sleep apnea linked to men also common in women
    Snoring and restless sleep tied to obesity, high blood pressure
    CBC News Aug 15, 2012
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/08/15/sleep-apnea-women.html