Idiopathic short stature
Idiopathic is an adjective used primarily in medicine meaning arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause. From Greek ἴδιος, idios + πάθος, pathos , it means approximately "a disease of its own kind". It is technically a term from nosology, the classification of disease...

 short stature
(ISS) refers to extreme short stature
Short stature
Short stature refers to a height of a human being which is below expected. Shortness is a vague term without a precise definition and with significant relativity to context...

 that does not have a diagnostic
Medical diagnosis
Medical diagnosis refers both to the process of attempting to determine or identify a possible disease or disorder , and to the opinion reached by this process...

 explanation (idiopathic designates a condition that is unexplained or not understood) after an ordinary growth evaluation. The term has been in use since at least 1975 without a precise percentile or statistical definition of "extreme".


In 2003 Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company is a global pharmaceutical company. Eli Lilly's global headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States...

 offered a more precise definition of ISS when the pharmaceutical company submitted clinical trial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (FDA) requesting approval to advertise their brand of growth hormone
Growth hormone treatment
Growth hormone treatment refers to the use of growth hormone in medical treatment. Growth hormone is a peptide hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates growth and cell reproduction. In the past, growth hormone was extracted from human pituitary glands. GH is now produced by...

 for the treatment of ISS. They proposed a definition of a height more than 2.25 standard deviations below mean, roughly equal to the shortest 1.2% of the population.

Other researchers have described a cutoff of 2.0 standard deviations.


  • Should insurance or government (the other 99% of the population) pay US$100,000 or more (which is the estimated cost) to treat someone to move them from the first percentile to perhaps the 10th? Would that just transfer the disadvantages to those in what was previously the "2nd" percentile?

  • There is some evidence that hormone treatment may not result in a significant improvement in psychosocial functioning.


The use of insulin-like growth factor 1
Insulin-like growth factor 1
Insulin-like growth factor 1 also known as somatomedin C is a protein that in humans is encoded by the IGF1 gene. IGF-1 has also been referred to as a "sulfation factor" and its effects were termed "nonsuppressible insulin-like activity" in the 1970s.IGF-1 is a hormone similar in molecular...

 or aromatase inhibitors have been proposed as an alternative to growth hormone.

External links

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