Growth hormone releasing hormone improves the cognition of healthy older adults

Michael V. Vitiello, Karen E. Moe, George R. Merriam, Giuliana Mazzoni, David H. Buchner, Robert S. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Declines in the activity of the somatotrophic axis have been implicated in the age-related changes observed in a number of physiological functions, including cognition. Such age-related changes may be arrested or partially reversed by hormonal supplementation. We examined the effect of 6 months treatment with daily growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) or placebo on the cognition of a group of 89 healthy older (68.0 ± 0.7) adults. GHRH resulted in improved performance on WAIS-R performance IQ (p < 0.01), WAIS-R picture arrangement (p < 0.01), finding A's (p < 0.01), verbal sets (p < 0.01) and single-dual task (p < 0.04). GHRH-based improvements were independent of gender, estrogen status or baseline cognitive capacity. These results demonstrate that the age-related decline in the somatotrophic axis may be related to age-related decline in cognition. Further they indicate that supplementation of this neuro-hormonal axis may partially ameliorate such cognitive declines in healthy normal older adults and potentially in individuals with impaired cognitive function (i.e., mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-323
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive function
  • Elderly
  • GH
  • GHRH
  • IGF-I

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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