Growth hormone improves body composition and motor development in infants with Prader-Willi syndrome after six months

Barbara Whitman, Aaron Carrel, Tracy Bekx, Colleen Weber, David Allen, Susan Myers
Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism: JPEM 2004, 17 (4): 591-600

BACKGROUND: Infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) show abnormalities of body composition. Children with PWS treated with growth hormone (GH) demonstrate improved body composition and motor skills.

OBJECTIVE: To assess body composition and motor changes in infants with PWS following 6 months GH therapy.

METHODS: Twenty-five infants with PWS (mean age 15.5 mo) underwent dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) assessment of body composition, and motor assessment with the Toddler Infant Motor Evaluation (TIME). Patients were then randomized to treatment (Genotropin, 1 mg/m2/day) or control, with reassessment at 6 months.

RESULTS: GH treatment significantly increased lean body mass (6.4 +/- 2.4 kg to 8.9 +/- 2.7 kg) and decreased body fat (27.6 +/- 9.9% to 22.4 +/- 10.3%). Age equivalent motor scores improved 4 months in the treated group vs 2 months in controls (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Infants with PWS show significant body composition and motor development improvement following 6 months GH therapy. We are investigating whether this improvement leads to long-term reductions in obesity.

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