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Clinical Interventions in Aging
Dove Medical Press
Publication Date
  • Editorial Foreword
  • Medicine


Comments on “Growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone and GH secretagogues in normal aging” This issue of Clinical Interventions in Aging contains a quite interesting and informative article about a topic that is popular and also controversial among practitioners of age-management medicine. Appropriate to that controversy, Drs Hersch and Merriam (2008) have asked the question in the title of their paper, does the use of growth hormone secretagogues in age management medicine hold the promise of a fountain of youth, or that of a pool of Tantalus? While there is universal understanding of the fountain imagery, the meaning of the pool is perhaps less obvious. It derives, of course, from the Greek myth of Tantalus, who had both a hidden, divine sire and a mortal one. As the son of Zeus, he was uniquely favored among mortals and was invited to share the food of the gods. However, driven by pride, he shared the divine ambrosia with other mortals, and thus aroused the ire of the gods. As punishment, he was made to stand chin-deep in water with a variety of sweet-smelling and delicious fruit dangling just over his head. However, whenever he tried to drink or eat, the water would magically recede or the fruit would miraculously be lifted just out of his reach. Thus, it is that torment, through which something seems to be offered only to be withdrawn again, that has been called “tantalizing” in memory of its best known victim. The authors’ comments about these images at the paper’s end indicate that they had already formed an opinion of which better represents the relationship of GH secretagogues to age management therapies. In those comments, they suggest that while beneficial, secretagogue therapy as currently employed hardly brings youthful rejuvenation and that the expectations of efficacy are more tantalizing than realizable. While most practitioners would agree that growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT) will not restore youth, I feel that its effects are more than tantalizing since by definit

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