The Wall Street Journal dug up an interesting study from Umea University. The study from the Department of Integrative Medical Biology at Umea (Sweden) demonstrated long term muscle changes in anabolic steroids users -- despite current abstinence. The WSJ related these changes to MLB stats. (here)
In the study, which was completed in October 2006 by the Department of Integrative Medical Biology at Sweden's Umea University, researchers took muscle biopsies from 26 elite powerlifters who have competed at the sport's highest levels. Ten of the volunteers said they were not steroid users, but the other 16 had either admitted using these drugs in the past or said they were currently using them. Not only is it unusual for scientists to study elite athletes of any kind, it's almost impossible to study top athletes who are using steroids in competition.
When the researchers looked at the subjects' muscles through a microscope, they made a surprising discovery: Rather than returning to their original proportions, the muscles of the steroid users who'd stopped taking the drug looked remarkably similar to those of the subjects who were still using. They also had larger muscle fibers and more growth-inducing "myonuclei" in their muscle cells than the nonsteroid users.
The Journal says the study was published at the U of Umea's website, however this may be the journal abstract.
Interesting that anabolic steroid use increases muscle fiber size, and increases myonuclei number. Perhaps this priming effects on muscle cells produces not only acute effects to enhance strength, but also enhances the use of HGH later in 'abstinent steroid users' (or concurrent users) as noted in this study.
Strength, peak power output and IGF-I significantly increased and total protein, albumin and free tetra-iodothyronine significantly decreased compared to controls (p < 0.05) and within the GH group (p < 0.017). Fat-free mass index and VO2 peak significantly increased, while body fat and thyroid-stimulating hormone significantly decreased within the GH group (p < 0.017). Conclusions: Short-term rhGH increased strength and power. Of therapeutic value is the possibility that muscle bulk and strength could be increased in patients with muscle-wasting conditions.
Thus, one of the reasons administering HGH to college students does not enhance strength -- their muscle cells are not previously primed with AASs. Charles Yesalis understands this:
Charles Yesalis, a former strength coach and professor emeritus of health policy and administration at Pennsylvania State University, says athletes who continue to train can retain as much as 85% of their gains from using drugs. This isn't based on muscle biopsies or peer-reviewed research, he says, but on 30 years of experience with athletes. He says he has talked privately with hundreds of dopers, some of them champions, and has seen the permanent benefits of performance-enhancing drugs. "These things are like rocket fuel," he says.