The effect of growth hormone treatment or physical training on motor performance in Prader-Willi syndrome: a systematic review

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Sep;36(8):1817-38. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 May 28.


Although motor problems in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) are prominent in infants, and continue into childhood and adulthood, there is little insight into the factors important for clinical management. The literature was reviewed to: (1) provide an overview of the characteristics and prevalence of motor problems and (2) evaluate the effects of growth hormone (GH) treatment and physical training on motor performance. A systematic search revealed 34 papers: 13 on motor performance; 12 on GH treatment; and nine on physical training. In infants, motor development is 30-57% of the normal reference values, and children and adults also have significant problems in skill acquisition, muscle force, cardiovascular fitness, and activity level. GH treatment positively influenced motor performance in infants, children, and adults, although not all studies demonstrated an effect. All studies on physical training demonstrated beneficial effects in PWS patients. We suggest a combination of GH treatment and physical training to be started as soon as possible, especially in infants, to improve motor development as this will positively influence general development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Human Growth Hormone