GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gigantism and dwarfism. Historical artwork of three Irish giants seen with dwarfs. The giants suffer from gigantism and the dwarfs suffer from dwarfism. Gigantism is caused by a tumour in the pituitary gland, the organ which produces growth hormones, during childhood. This makes the gland overactive, leading to an increased growth rate and muscular weakness. Sufferers usually die in early adulthood when the tumour finally destroys the gland. Dwarfism is due to hereditary disorders, a deficiency of growth hormone or a lack of metabolism-controlling thyroid hormone. The central giant is Charles Bryne who was almost 2.5 metres tall. This artwork is by Kay in 1784.
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