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Growth hormone therapy doesn’t make life better

Parents of a short child who believe growth hormone therapy will better his or her social life may be mistaken, new study findings suggest.

Among lower and upper grade students in one public school district in New York City, height had little effect on which children were the most popular or who had the most friends.

The "good news" of the study is that "teens see through physical characteristics," lead study author Dr. David E. Sandberg, of the State University of New York at Buffalo, told Reuters Health.

"A person's height on its own tells us nothing about how well that individual is liked by others, perceived by others, or what they're like," he added.

About 40,000 children in the United States are currently receiving treatment for growth hormone deficiencies. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration also approved the use of growth hormone to treat children who just happen to be short but are otherwise healthy, informs Reuters.

According to the Newsweek, the study results could add to the controversy over the treatment of healthy short children with human growth hormone to make them taller.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug for very short children. The decision was based partly on the belief that short stature is emotionally disabling for children.

Most importantly, say researchers, their findings challenge one of the rationales for giving some pint-sized kids years of expensive and invasive shots of artificial growth hormone in a bid to make them head-and-shoulders equals with their peers. Children in the study were generally defined as short if they were below the height of about 98% of others of the same age and sex.

As adults, they' be predicted to grow to 4-ft.9 or less for females and 5-ft.-2 or less for males. Growth hormones can add 1.5 to 2.5 inches on average.

In Canada, provincial health plans usually cover artificial growth hormone injections for children lacking in the substance naturally, reports Calgary Sun.

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