Though the rich have used their wealth to improve their bodies for decades — from cosmetic surgery to high-end facials — it seems as if some affluent parents are taking it to a new level by plying their children with drugs to make them taller, even when it could potentially have negative effects on their health.
The specific drug necessary is the human growth hormone, also known as HGH, according to Real Clear Science. HGH is a hormone that stimulates growth, cell regeneration, and cell reproduction.
It is often used by athletes, who believe that it gives them an edge in sporting events — and is banned in Major League Baseball as a result. It has also been heralded as a possible key for anti-aging science.
Moreover, it is also a proven way to help children get taller. According to Web MD, the Food and Drug Administration green-lit in 2003 the use of synthetic human growth hormones for children who suffered from idiopathic short stature (ISS). Those affected with the condition are shorter than 97% of their peers, suggesting a legitimate effect on the quality of life. With HGH, patients can estimate a gain of 1.4 to 2.8 inches.
However, though a majority of ISS sufferers are at or under 63 inches for men and 59 inches for women, there is no concrete definition, meaning doctors can offer an ISS diagnosis at their discretion.
This means that parents who have children that are not in the bottom percentile of height but just shorter than average are pursuing the treatment. One pediatric endocrinologist even complained that around half of her caseload has now become requests for HGH.
The process for HGH supplementation begins before puberty and lasts between three to five years. The cost can tally at upwards of $300,000 which means it is a significant investment for all but the wealthiest families in the world.
Though most doctors believe that the treatment is safe, there was a recent study in France that suggested some worrying side effects. A decades-long review that followed 7,000 people who had been given HGH as children found increases, albeit slight ones, in all-cause mortality. The reason for this was due to elevated rates of heart disease.
Moreover, many doctors are voicing ethical concerns on the matter, with one calling it “cosmetic endocrinology.” Some point out the similarities to eugenics practices, while others express their fears that the wealthy individuals could soon biologically diverge from the rest of society.
Already, one scientist in China bio-hacked three babies by genetically modifying them. As reported by The Inquisitr, he has since been sentenced to three years in prison as a result of the human experiments.