This review focuses on the possible contribution of the growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) axis to cognitive function. Binding sites for GH and IGF-I are found in various areas of the brain. Their distribution suggests that GH and IGF-I contribute to the function of the hippocampus, a brain structure important for the maintenance of cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Evidence for cognitive deficits in GH-deficient individuals has been found in various studies, some of which have shown that these deficits can be reversed by GH substitution therapy. In addition to examining conditions of GH deficiency, this article reviews studies evaluating the correlation between the cognitive deficits associated with ageing and age-related decreases in GH or IGF-I secretion. Based on the available data, one might hypothesize that relative GH or IGF-I deficiency could contribute to the deterioration of cognitive functions observed in the elderly.