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condition in which an animal or plant is far greater than normal in size. Plants are often deliberately bred to increase their size. However, among animals, gigantism is usually the result of hereditary and glandular disturbance. Among humans, gigantism is produced by an oversecretion of growth hormones by the acidophilic cells in the anterior lobe of the pituitary, causing excessive growth of all the tissues of the body. The metabolic rate is usually at least 20% above normal, which could be caused by an excess of the growth hormone alone, or oversecretion of the thyroid hormone in addition. Usually hyperglycemia (overactivity of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas) is present. This condition eventually leads to degeneration of the islet cells, causing diabetes. Because of these metabolic abnormalities, the life expectancy of a giant is considerably less than normal. The treatment for gigantism is usually irradiation of the pituitary. The excessive height of the pituitary giant, which is defined at various levels above 7 ft (213 cm), is caused by excessive growth of the long bones. However, if the pituitary becomes overactive after growth is complete (marked by closure of the epiphyses of the long bones), the condition known as acromegalyacromegaly
, adult endocrine disorder resulting from hypersecretion of growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland. Since the bones cannot increase in length after full growth is attained, there is a disproportionate thickening of bones, predominantly in the skull and small
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 results. Giantsgiant,
in mythology, manlike being of great size and strength. The giant has been the symbol for the expression of certain recurring beliefs in the mythologies of all races.
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 appear in the legends and folklore of many cultures.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



excessive growth in humans. A height exceeding 190 cm may acquire a pathological character. Giants over 200 cm tall are rarely encountered; the tallest human described in the literature was 320 cm tall. Gigantism is observed more often in males, is usually manifested at nine-ten years of age or during the period of sexual maturation, and continues during the physiological growth of the body. The causes of gigantism are not known; it is presumed that it is connected with intensified function of the anterior pituitary gland, which produces the growth hormone. Giants of pathological height experience poor health and rarely live to old age. They are often psychologically infantile, and their sex drive is absent or decreased. Externally, there is elongation of the extremities, especially the lower ones; the head appears unusually small. There exists partial gigantism, which is characterized by the enlargement of part (for example, the feet) or half of the body. Treatment includes X-ray and hormone therapy, sometimes surgery.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Abnormal largeness of the body due to hypersecretion of growth hormone.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
As coach, Tuesday was one of the proudest moments for the dreadlocked 42-year-old who took over as coach of Teranga Lions in 2012.Standing five feet, 11 inches tall, the lanky coach was animated throughout Tuesdays match as his team, ranked 27th globally, beat eight-ranked Poland 2-1 in Group H match.
Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len have a cunning plan to steal the farmer's fine prize cow.
Summary: Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Dec 07 (ANI): The Indian team's quarter final match against Belgium at the men's Hockey World League Final saw lanky forward Akashdeep Singh achieve the milestone of completing 150 international matches.
I know I'm going to be facing a tall, lanky southpaw with a decent lead hand.
Strictly winner Abbey, 28, looked Strictly winner Abbey, 28, looked stunning as she strolled along the stunning as she strolled along the sand in a skimpy bikini, while former England footballer ngland footballer Peter, 33, looked as lanky as ever.
The only thing he is good at with his height is changing light bulbs" - Strictly Come Dancing winner Abbey Clancy on her lanky Premier League footballer husband Peter Crouch.
Lanky Muhammad Talah, who made his Test debut infamous second Test in Gaddafi Stadium Lahore when Sri Lanka team came under attack on third March 2009, has taken 31 wickets in President's Trophy for Port Qasim Authority.
Paul Hayman, 35, who is from Darlington, has created The Lanky Jeans Company as, at 6 feet 4 tall and weighing 13 stone, he was constantly disappointed on his quest to find a pair of quality jeans which fit his dimensions properly.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum): This colourful winter gem produces a splash of yellow blooms from November to late February and will thrive against a north-facing wall, or with its lanky branches trailing over a bank or trained up a trellis, as the stems can reach 10ft or more.
The lanky centre-back, brought in from Stoke City on a season-long loan, was on the substitute's bench for the 0-0 draw at Grimsby Town last weekend but with Dean and Cartwright definite absentees and stand-in captain Gavin Cowan (dead leg) and left-back Stephen O'Halloran (ankle) also battling against injuries, the work experience teenager looks sure to be in the starting line-up.
The driver of the battered old station wagon was a young man with long, lanky blond hair and a wispy black goatee (clearly dyed).
Tel: 029 2023 0130 Greg Davies The Glee Club, Cardiff Tickets: pounds 15 Rhod Gilbert's lanky mate also known as the teacher from The Inbetweeners performs his latest show Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog.