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« Should MLB/Feds investigate Pasadena Texas "1 on 1 Elite Personal Fitness" ? | Main | Yankee owner Steinbrenner blasts NFL »

02/20/2008

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Comments

Steve

I know you're a doctor, and I've liked what you've said in the past, but I think this goes too far. It's not just people who argue that steroids don't cause behavioral changes, it's science. Studies on steroids don't show a correlation between their use and behavioral changes. The behavioral problems that occur with users are no more frequent than their normal appearance in society. (this comes from studies cited by Eric Walker on his site about steroids and baseball http://steroids-and-baseball.com/)

Suicide is sad and what Chris Benoit did is terrible, but things like that happen to disproportionately more people who aren't using steroids than who are. This seems like nothing more than a scare tactic, like when Lyle Alzado was so sure that steroids caused his brain cancer and the media shouted it from the roof tops. It wasn't true and those who study adolescent behavior know that lying to them about why they shouldn't do something causes more people to do it.

Published reports have the number of teenage steroid users as being very very small. One is too many. We should be educating teenagers about the actual bad things that can happen when an immature body uses steroids.

grg

Steve. thanks for the comment.

First, I highly urge everyone to ignore cult web sites that cherry pick 'studies' or opinions from pseudo-scientists who never published a scientific paper in a life.

Second, the simple fact of the matter is that 'steroids' as a class induce profound behavioral changes. A subset of steroids is anabolic steroids, all analogs of testosterone. Testosterone induces male behaviors like dominance, aggression, and sexual rituals. This is a incontrovertible scientific fact.

The other anabolic steroids will likewise produce profound behavioral changes.

Having said that, we admit studies are not consistent on the issue of 'roid rage, or sudden explosive aggressive behaviors.

Third, anyone who says anabolic steroids are devoid of serious side effects just is woefully uninformed. If you see or hear that statement, you know you are dealing with a rank amateur.

Again, use caution when reading these fringe authors without scientific training, or with a particular ax to grind (in fact be skeptical of everything exempt what we say because we have a hotline to God :-) ). Just because I can dribble and shoot a basketball doesn't mean I am an NBA player.

thanks

Steve

How does one tell which studies are good and which studies are bad? Or how does the average person like me decipher which people behind the study are trustworthy and which aren't?

I've noticed that with HGH there are contradictory studies and since the studies i've read contradict what you've found, that seems to be the case with steroids too. Perhaps bad studies are the reason for this.

I've known a few anabolic steroid users (I know this is way to small a sample size) but they were aggressive people before they took the steroids, during, and after. Again, small sample size, but it seems logical that people willing to take steroids are already aggressive people. That's just an assumption, but it seems like that's a pretty hard thing to account for in studies. Are you aware of studies that have gathered data on personalities before gathering data on those same personalities on steroids? If that's something you've covered and I've missed, I apologize.

grg

Steve your obviously a thoughtful person; these are great questions.

Which studies are good? All scientific studies have weaknesses; it takes a great deal of work to determine the limitations and strengths of a particular study. One should gather all studies on the subject, then summarize all, not just studies that support one's position. When all studies are considered even experts will disagree.

There are so many relevant issues in looking at the value of a study; this is especially true in PEDs, where the street use is significantly different than the clinical use of the drugs. Doses, length of use, poly-drug use, genetic background, workout program, and method of evaluation all vary between the street and the 'lab'.

For instance, HGH when studied in 'clinical' doses, produces unimpressive strength results in studies. However, when combined with an anabolic steroids, HGH produces an additive effect.

Further, the doses of HGH used in clinical studies are lower than used on the street. Also the population may differ too: the response of a college student in a study likely differs from a world class elite athlete to the drug (HGH).

An IRB (investigation review board that approves all studies) would never allow the doses of drugs and the combinations of drugs used on the street; these doses and combinations would be medically way too dangerous for an ethical investigator to use on human subjects. However athletes and body builders use these doses on the streets (which are incredible).

For instance to look at the effect of nandrolone on bat speed, an investigator would design a double blind, placebo controlled, cross-over study using street doses of the drug. The investigator should recruit MLB players for the studies because ordinary people may not respond as well to the steroid. 30 players would take nandrolone, and face a standard pitching machine (or something) over a period of 3 months (let's say). 30 players should receive injections of placebo. Then the players all switch drugs for another 3 months.

You can see that study will NEVER be done. So what we are left with are imperfect studies that really don't approach the real world conditions. Experts all must use a measure of common sense and experience to judge the effects of drugs.

I would agree with you about more aggressive athletes seeking out steroids; in fact studies indicate this is the case -- a confounding variable -- and thus the question about the 'roid rage. Again what should be done is to give 2 groups of very aggressive athletes nandrolone v. placebo then measure their aggressiveness, or see how many murders and assaults differ between groups. As you can see that study will never be done.

What an expert has to do is to look at the data, then develop a theory that the preponderance of the evidence supports. These guys that develop the web sites have no expertise in this process; they have no clinical judgment and no scientific credibility.

Considering the basic physiological effects of testosterone on behavior -- aggressiveness, dominance, and sexual behavior, it would appear logical to me that used as a drug testosterone enhances aggressiveness.

I will also say that anyone who claims the PEDs have no serious side effects is simply horribly uniformed. Anyone in medicine knows this group of drugs produces numerous serious side effects. If you read that statement, put the paper down, take a shower, and double check that the world is still round...

thanks for the great questions!

Not

I am against the PEDs use in competition. The main problem that I see with HGH is that it is used by so many people as an antiaging drug. You can buy it on line.You see ads in most magazines. Antiaging clinics sell it. I don't know how the gorvenment is going to control the illegal use of something like HGH. It is like having a plastic surgery or a skin treatment or injecting botox. It is the result of scientific studies. Today science is moving in a very fast pace. I m completely skeptic about professional or amateur sports. I just try to do my own thing and forget about rolemodels or sports heroes.

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A general class of chemical substances that are structurally related to one another and share the same chemical skeleton. thanks for the post.

-mj-

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Mahidhar Reddy

Regardless of your problem with Bigger Stronger Faster and your insensitive comments about the movie and the filmmaker, I find it disturbing how you attribute the Hooton suicide to steroids as a knee-jerk reaction without taking into consideration the Lexapro.

That level of intellectual dishonesty is one of a number of reasons why doctors are less-respected members of society than in the past. Keep up the implicit defense of the psychiatric racket while you're at it

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You can see that study will NEVER be done. So what we are left with are imperfect studies that really don't approach the real world conditions. Experts all must use a measure of common sense and experience to judge the effects of drugs.

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