|The Today Show|
Copyright 2002 National Broadcasting Co. Inc.
NBC News Transcripts
SHOW: Today (7:00 AM ET) - NBC
December 26, 2002 Thursday
HEADLINE: Dr. Joseph Raffaele and Dr. Mark Blackman debate benefits and risks of using human growth hormone in combination with other hormones in treating effects of aging
ANCHORS: LESTER HOLT
In the past, a search for a fountain of youth has been a mystical, elusive pursuit. But now scientists are finding promising results with the use of human growth hormone, in combination with other hormones. And in response, hundreds of clinics are springing up around the country to meet demand for the controversial treatment. Dr. Joseph Raffaele runs a clinic that administers hormone therapy in Manhattan. Dr. Mark Blackman is the clinical director at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the author of a recent study which looked at the effects of growth hormone on healthy older people.
Gentlemen, good morning to both of you. Thanks for joining us. Dr. MARK BLACKMAN (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine): Good morning.
Dr. JOSEPH RAFFAELE (PhysioAge Medical Group): Good morning.
HOLT: Dr. Raffaele, if I could begin with you. Explain what this therapy is. What do you offer your patients?
Dr. RAFFAELE: What we do is we look at where each patient is in the hormonal aging process and then replace those levels back to youthful levels. For instance, a 45-year-old person has about half the level of growth hormone secretion as a 20-year-old. And so we restore it back to that level, along with other hormones, such as testosterone in men and women, and estrogen in women.
HOLT: Now, some people have a shortage of these particular hormones in their body. Are you offering this to anyone who walks in the door who wants to feel younger and look better?
Dr. RAFFAELE: Not at all. The shortage in growth hormone-deficient adult, which is a disease that growth hormone is FDA approved for, is really only a matter of degree from what an aging adult can have. So we look at what their levels are and monitor them very closely and replace them back to youthful levels. But someone comes in with a level, say, of growth hormone that is quite adequate, and there is differences between each person, because people age differently, we don't replace that hormone.
HOLT: and then what happens? What--what changes in the body are you seeing with this therapy?
Dr. RAFFAELE: Quite--quite a few. We see changes in lean body mass increasing, muscle, fat around the waist, particularly, decreases, skin improves. Things like that.