Interesting results from a medical trial at the Max Plank Institute found that cognitive functioning in mice improved with EPO, long abused by athletes for endurance tasks -- especially track and cycling. EPO stimulates more blood cells allowing a greater capacity of the blood to unload oxygen in the tissues. Apparently the drug, or a downstream affect of the drug enhances neuronal circuitry of memory functions. To Barchester Healthcare News:
Research published in the open-access journal BMC Biology suggests erythropoietin (EPO) may improve memory due to a direct effect on neurons in the brain, as opposed to any effect it might have on blood production in the body.
According to scientists involved in the study, the findings could prove useful in the development of treatments for diseases which affect the brain, such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis.
The researchers revealed that treatment with EPO appeared to "increase the number of inhibitory circuits, which actually increases the efficiency of transmission of excitatory nerve impulses in specific neurons, resulting in greater short-term and long-term plasticity in memory pathways in the hippocampus".
Could the beneficial effects of doping with EPO have also improved the cognitive functioning of athletes who abuse the drug? Seems their memories fail them at times, especially when they try to recall their drug use. Must be the hippocampus, huh?
Hannelore Ehrenreich, of the Max Planck Institute, compared the enhanced memory function seen in mice with the dramatic improvement in endurance and muscular performance experienced by athletes who have used the drug.