cerebral gigantism


[jahy-gan-tiz-uhm, ji-, jahy-gan-tiz-uhm]
Gigantism or giantism, (from Greek gigas, gigantas "giant") is a condition characterized by excessive growth and height significantly above average.


As a medical term, gigantism can refer to:

  • "Pituitary gigantism", which is due to prepubertal growth hormone excess. This is sometimes equated with acromegaly, but more precisely, an excess of growth hormone leads to "pituitary gigantism" (vertical growth) if the epiphyseal plates have not yet closed, but it leads to "acromegaly" (lateral growth) if they have closed.
  • "Cerebral gigantism", also known as Sotos syndrome, which is due to a mutation in NSD1.


There is no precise definition of the degree of height that qualifies a person to be termed a "giant."

The term has been typically applied to those whose height is not just in the upper 1% of the population but several standard deviations above mean for persons of the same sex, age, and ethnic ancestry. Typical adult heights of Americans of European descent to whom the term might be applied are 2.10 - 2.40 metres (7 - 8 feet). The term is seldom applied to those who are simply "tall" or "above average" - whose heights appear to be the healthy result of normal genetics and nutrition.

Other names somewhat obsolete for this pathology are hypersomia (Greek: hyper over the normal level; soma body) and somatomegaly (Greek; soma body, object pronoun somatos of the body; megas, megalos great).

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