Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: The effects of doping may last up to 10 years

Friday, November 01, 2013

The effects of doping may last up to 10 years

Back in August, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) announced that from 2015, athletes found guilty of using banned substances will be given a four year ban instead of the current two.

A recent study in Norway with mice suggests that taking certain steroids can have a lasting effect on the subjects for a very long time after the doping session. It was found that if the mice had a brief exposure to testosterone then they  found that three months after the drug was withdrawn, their muscles grew by 30% after six days of exercise. A control group of mice saw growth of just 6% in the same time period. It was found that the brief exposure to the drug boosted the number of cell nuclei which help to build muscle. This new research is a follow on from a previous study which suggested that if people exercised when they were young then their muscles grew more easily when they were adults.

Prof Gundersen, the scientist behind the study published in the journal of Physiology says that if a similar effect can be shown in humans, it should lead to a lifetime ban for dopers. He is quoted as saying..."If it is sufficient to build muscle mass, I think it would be sufficient to give you this long term effect. I think it could last 10 years but I don't have the data to back that up. It would be my speculation yes. In science if you cheat, you are out for life, and my personal view is that it should be similar for athletes. It is a harsh treatment but if you really are cheating, I think that's reasonable."

The Norwegian research team now believes that their research calls into question the current proposal from the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) to raise the penalty for dopers from two years to four.

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