GIGANTISM and dwarfism, which refers to the body’s overgrowth and undergrowth, respectively, can be prevented if detected early and treated with genetically-engineered growth hormones.

This was the thrust of the lecture given by Dr. Arlene Mercado, a pediatric endocrinologist from the National Institutes of Health of the United States of America, during the 4th Thomasian Endocrine Lecture last January 7 at the UST Continuing Medical Education Auditorium.

Speaking on the topic “Short and Tall Stature,” Mercado presented various cases of patients with gigantism and dwarfism. She likewise enumerated new methods of early detection, as well as recently-developed treatments such as the genetically-engineered growth hormone approved last year by the US Food and Drugs Administration for human use.

However, Mercado added that this new breakthrough in treating principally individuals with short stature is very expensive and is beset with ethical issues. Thus, she emphasized the importance of periodically monitoring the height and weight of pediatric patients using growth charts in clinics so that growth abnormalities may be detected early and remedied with more affordable treatments.

The symposium was jointly organized by the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and the Department of Medicine Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. Cherie G. Clemente

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