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Human Growth Hormone Does Boost Athletic Performance
Date:5/3/2010

In trial, those who took the banned substance were leaner and ran faster,,

MONDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Human growth hormone, a substance frequently implicated in sports doping scandals, does seem to boost athletic performance, a new study shows.

Australian researchers gave 96 non-professional athletes aged 18 to 40 injections of either HGH or a saline placebo. Participants included 63 men and 33 women. About half of the male participants also received a second injection of testosterone or placebo.

After eight weeks, men and women given HGH injections sprinted faster on a bicycle and had reduced fat mass and more lean body mass. Adding in testosterone boosted those effects -- in men also given testosterone, the impact on sprinting ability was nearly doubled.

HGH, however, had no effect on jumping ability, aerobic capacity or strength, measured by the ability to dead-lift a weight, nor did HGH increase muscle mass.

"This paper adds to the scientific evidence that HGH can be performance enhancing, and from our perspective at WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency], lends support to bans on HGH," said Olivier Rabin, WADA's science director.

The study, which was funded in part by WADA, is in the May 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Human growth hormone is among the substances banned by the WADA for use by competitive athletes. HGH is also banned by Major League Baseball, though the league doesn't currently test for it.

HGH has made headlines in the sports world. Recently, American tennis player Wayne Odesnik accepted a voluntary suspension for importing the substance into Australia, while Tiger Woods denied using it after the assistant to a prominent sports medicine expert who had treated Woods was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border with HGH.

However, based on anecdotal reports and athlete testimonies, HGH is widely abused in professional sports, said M
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