“How old would you be if you did not know how old you are?” Satchel Paige

As the news media sources are disseminating reports about whether or not Peyton Manning or his wife may or may not have indulged in injections of HGH, I find myself once again confused not only about the way the media does its reporting but also about HGH itself.  What is it?  Is it safe?  Is it legal?  I care less about whether Peyton Manning or his wife took it and more so about whether it was ethical to share that he or she did so, as well as, the dissemination about the product’s availability and safety.

When I first heard about the report about a shipment of HGH being sent to Peyton’s wife by some anti-aging clinic, I thought to myself, “Oh no, here we go again, more drama in the NFL.  Last year it was Eli who supposedly had dealings with a fraudulent autograph or memorabilia company, or something like that.  It’s always something and whatever it is seems to keep talking, and us all tuned in even if only for a little while.  Eventually something else happens to get us to lose focus on the current drama buzz and we move on to the next.

Are sports that boring that we fail to have enough to talk about without the constant need for wrenches thrown into the mix?  Rarely is it about the game anymore and I say that without even knowing if it ever truly was, but it sure did seem that way.  Years ago, before the twenty-four hour sports networks, when sports was just something that got ten minutes [I’m not sure if it was ten but I’m going to assume so] were people in the media more focused on the reporting of the games, standings and overall competition?

Getting back to HGH, what little I know about it, is that the perception is that it’s some miracle element that can make you look like a million bucks and can cause you to be able to turn back time.  Would I use it?  I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure the legality of it would be something that would weigh into my decision process.  I’m like that when it comes to things I put in my body and I’m not suggesting that this is the correct way to be, simply stating that it is the benchmark of which I choose to make my choices.  For example, I’ve smoked cigarettes.  If they were illegal I’m not sure I would have.  Is it healthy for my body to smoke cigarettes?  Some have said they can aid in the prevention of Parkinsons but others claim they cause cancer.

Which scientific studies should be choose to rely on when we make laws about which data we wish to present as ‘fact’ to the public?  Back on May 9, 2007, an article by Caleb Hellerman was posted over at CNN’s website about the rise in usage of HGH that posed the question in its title, “but is it legal?”  The article begins with mention of a woman who reached the age of fifty and “was feeling her age.”  The article shares how Beth Lofhamer took her concerns to an endocrinologist, Dr. Jackie Springer, “who prescribed replacement hormones, including a daily injection of human growth hormone, or HGH, after two rounds of blood testing.”

Let me segue for a moment to share about my own personal experience with the miracle drug.  No, I’ve never gone to an anti-aging clinic and been prescribed it, but I did happen to have a friend who was mulling over the side effects of the drug when her she learned that her daughter was not going to grow normally.  “Should I let her take it?” she asked me as we sat outside at her picnic table one summer day.  Who was I to say?  At the time her daughter was in the first grade, at least I’m pretty sure she was and my son was in third.  I had no way of knowing her daughter had been diagnosed with something that would cause her to be unable to grow normally but she chose to confide in me.  She was searching her soul because she knew that the drug could cause her daughter to suffer from terrible side effects but she also knew that if her daughter did not take the drug she would not grow normally and perhaps, she thought, this might be worse.  It was a difficult choice for her to make and I never asked what she decided to do but her daughter is now seventeen and a beautiful young lady who looks every bit seventeen.

Getting back to Caleb’s article, he discusses how “HGH has been used since the 1950s to help children with growth problems,” and mentions how it “stayed under the radar for other reasons until 1990 when Dr. Daniel Rudman reported in the New England Journal of Medicine-that men taking a six-month course of HGH reduced their body fat by 14.4 percent while increasing lean muscle mass by 8.8 percent.” Caleb shares about how the response was quick and positive with many opting to indulge in the various creams and injections to partake in the miracle.  What Caleb also cites is that the legality of HGH is “still fuzzy.”

The article goes on to talk about how some doctors have gotten into trouble for prescribing HGH including Dr. Jackie Springer who in 2004 was “stripped” of her license by “the Kansas medical board” because she supposedly “prescribed growth hormone without performing diagnostic tests,” which she denies.

So what about Peyton Manning?  What about his wife supposedly getting a shipment of HGH from an anti-aging clinic?  What about the possibility of violating someone’s privacy and sharing about what’s mailed to them?  Is it even ethical to share something like this about someone’s mail?  Is it legal?