AirTalk for May 4, 2010

Human growth hormone boosts sprint speeds

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Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Dawn Harper of the United States crosses the line to win the Women's 100m Hurdles Final held at the National Stadium on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China.

New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that injections of human growth hormone can boost sprint capacity in athletes. The study, funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency, reports that while strength and power were unaffected, human growth hormone improved the sprint capacity in men and women by 3.9 percent over a placebo group. When results in track competitions come down to fractions of a second, it's enough to make a last-place sprinter the winner. And while the substance cannot be detected in urine, it can be found in a blood sample if a test is performed within a few days of use. Should athletic organizations start testing for human growth hormone?

Guest:


Gary I. Wadler, M.D., internist with special expertise in the field of drug use in sports. He is the lead author of the textbook "Drugs and the Athlete." Dr. Wadler currently serves as the Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee and serves as an ex-officio member of WADA’s Health, Medicine, and Research Committee


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