Navigation Links
The scientific side of steroid use and abuse
Date:8/6/2012

Leslie Henderson is concerned about steroid abuse, not necessarily by sports luminaries like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, but rather by adolescents.

"There is this disconnect among young people that somehow your emotions, your thought processesthings that have to do with your brainare separate and different from what steroids may be doing to your bodyyour muscles, your heart, or your liver, or anything like that," says Henderson, a professor of physiology and neurobiology, and of biochemistry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She is also the senior associate dean for faculty affairs at Geisel.

Henderson reports that websites targeting steroid users often acknowledge that steroids can affect your bodythat's why they are takenor they can make you aggressive. However, they do not say anything about changing the way your brain works. "Teenagers need to recognize that these drugs actually do things to your brain, and your behavior comes from your brain," she says.

The drugs of concern are anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), which are synthetic derivatives of testosterone, originally designed to provide enhanced anabolic (tissue-building) potency with negligible androgenic (masculinizing) effects, according to Henderson and her long-time Dartmouth collaborator Ann Clark, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

"Although originally developed for clinical use, AAS administration is now predominantly one of abuse, and the medical benefits of low doses of AAS stand in sharp contrast to the potential health risks associated with the excessive doses self-administered by athletes," they write in a 2003 paper.

In addition to the danger implicit in high dosages is the range of uncontrolled variability in the composition of these illicit synthetics. "Because of their chemical modifications they can also directly interact with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain to change the way they function," says Henderson. These changes are reflected in manifestations of anxiety, as seen in Henderson's laboratory experiments.

However, little regard is given to these potential dangers when the primary objective is a competitive edge in athletic pursuits. Compounding these caveats are the implications of abuse at an early age.

Studies have shown there are "critical periods"periods of time during adolescence when exposure to steroids can impose permanent changes in both brain organization and function, leading to physiological and psychiatric effects that may still be prevalent even in middle age. The age at which you take them also affects their persistence. From studies using rodents as an animal model, other investigators have also found that, "if you take steroids as an adolescent, those effects are much longer lasting in terms of their negative effects on behavior, especially aggression, than if you take them as an adult," Henderson comments.

In her laboratory work, Henderson has looked at three major behavioral systems typically associated with steroid abusereproduction, aggression in males, and anxiety in both sexes.

"We did a lot of work looking at the neural control of reproduction and regions of the brain that were affected by chronic steroid abuse, as well as the transfer centers in the brain that were affected acutely by exposure to these steroids," says Henderson. "More recently, we've also looked at the effects of these steroids on anxiety, elucidating a biochemical pathway that is integral to this."

When Henderson says "we" in reference to her research, she means the "royal we." As a senior associate dean in the medical school, her hours at the bench are expectedly limited. "However, our lab is still active. In fact the past couple years we've had probably our best and most high-profile publications," says Henderson. "Right now the lab has a senior postdoc, a graduate student, and my lab manager, and they are doing all the heavy lifting." Donna Porter is the laboratory manager working with Postdoctoral Associate Joseph Oberlander and graduate student Marie Onakomaiya.

As if she were not busy enough, Henderson is committed to active outreachbringing science to the public. In November, she is scheduled to participate in a local "Science Caf." These are interactive events that take place in casual settings such as pubs and coffeehouses, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic.

"It is just something that for me as a scientist I think is incredibly important," Henderson asserts. "We take a lot of taxpayer dollars, and if we can't go out and make what we're doing relevant to the people that are supporting us, we shouldn't be doing what we are doing."


'/>"/>

Contact: Amy Olson
amy.d.olson@dartmouth.edu
603-646-3247
Dartmouth College
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientific session and new research highlights
2. Traumatic brain injury the focus of American Headache Society scientific conference
3. Carnegie Mellons Marcel Just to receive Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award
4. Defining tomorrows medicine - SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2012
5. Gatekeeper of brain steroid signals boosts emotional resilience to stress
6. Inhaled Steroids Lead to Big Drop in Asthma Deaths at Texas Hospital: Study
7. Steroid Nasal Sprays Show Small Benefit for Sinusitis: Study
8. Identifying asthma patients who tolerate lower doses of steroids remains problematic
9. Trivedi Beef, LLC Announces Breakthrough Beef Industry Data without the use of Antibiotic Drugs, Hormones or Steroids
10. Low steroid levels linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease
11. Vitamin D deficiency and poorer lung function in asthmatic children treated with steroids
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The scientific side of steroid use and abuse
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The International ... promote standards of excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening ... 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law Office of Somekh & ... and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our office remain up to ... with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ElderCounsel was founded ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of ... collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event ... wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh, has ... least understood books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. The Book of Revelation paints a ... centuries. Many have tossed it off as mere rubbish, but Yisrayl Hawkins says that ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to ... to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the ... teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)...  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), today provided ... Piedras, Puerto Rico , where the ... Following a comprehensive onsite ... structural damage, temporary loss of power and minimal water ... manufacturing operations have resumed, and the company expects to ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 2017  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company I.M. ... on Kickstarter. The device will educate the user about ... better efficiency compared to the dated and pricey CPR ... efficacy of the compression for a more informed CPR ... to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, ... formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics ... new brand, which included the unveiling of new signage ... , as well as at a few other company-owned ... new brand to patients, some of whom will begin ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: