Anabolic Steroids – CYNTHIA M. KUHN
The term “anabolic steroids” refers to testosterone derivatives that are used either clinically or by athletes for their anabolic properties. However, scientists have questioned the anabolic effects of
testosterone and its derivatives in normal men for decades. Most scientists concluded that anabolic
steroids do not increase muscle size or strength in people with normal gonadal function and have
discounted positive results as unduly influenced by positive expectations of athletes, inferior
experimental design, or poor data analysis. There has been a tremendous disconnect between the
conviction of athletes that these drugs are effective and the conviction of scientists that they aren’t.
In part, this disconnect results from the completely different dose regimens used by scientists to
document the correction of deficiency states and by athletes striving to optimize athletic performance.
Recently, careful scientific study of suprapharmacologic doses in clinical settings – including aging,
human immunodeficiency virus, and other disease states – supports the efficacy of these regimens.
However, the mechanism by which these doses act remains unclear.
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