Saturday, September 3, 2011

Today in Medical History

A Growing Knowledge

On this date in 1931, chemists discovered that the pituitary gland contains a hormone, hGH, that controls growth. Overactivity of the pituitary, which sits at the base of the brain, results in gigantism. Underactivity results in dwarfism.

The discovery in 1931 eventually led to physicians treating children suffering from a deficiency of the hormone by injections of hGH obtained from the pituitaries of cadavers. More recently, scientists have discovered a way to produce genetically engineered hGH in bacteria.

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