Hormone and Peptide Therapy

If thyroid deficiency causes memory loss, can giving thyroid hormone to people without this hormone deficiency boost memory? The answer is no: the body's internal regulatory system maintains a fine balance in the levels of thyroid and most other hormones, quickly getting rid of the excess hormone that is ingested. An additional factor weighing against these hormones is that they cause a variety of side effects (differs markedly among different hormones) when given in high doses, thus reducing their potential utility as a long-term preventive strategy against age-related memory loss.

Vasopressin, also called antidiuretic hormone, is produced by cells that lie just above the pituitary gland in the brain. Studies in mice indicate that vasopressin improves learning and memory, but clinical results have been disappointing. Vasopressin is difficult to use because it needs to be given intravenously or via a nasal spray, and its effects on blood pressure and the kidneys make it potentially dangerous when used in high doses.

Other hormones, and some peptides that are similar to hormones, have each been proposed as potential antimemory-loss agents, but no scientific basis has been found for these claims. These include melanotropin, atrial natriuretic peptide, and substance P.

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