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Steroids risk brain damage

2nd October 2006

02102006_steroids1.jpgNew research suggests that using steroids to build a muscular physique may also cause huge damage to brain cells.

Steroids, which encourage the production of the male hormone testosterone, cause a condition known as hyperexcitability.  This means that the hormones may produce a state of heightened aggression and suicidal tendencies; this increase in anger is known in bodybuilding circuits as “roid rageâ€?
The study, by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, says that hyperexcitability could be evidence of impaired brain function. Exposing cultured nerve cells to high levels of testosterone, the scientists found that the hormone triggered programmed cell death, or apoptosis. Professor Barbara Ehrlich, lead researcher, said that “Low concentrations of testosterone had no effects on cell viability, whereas at high concentrations the cell viability decreased with incremental increases in hormone concentration.�

Aptosis is a natural process that plays a role in combating cancer by forcing cells to 'commit suicide'. However, when it occurs in healthy cells it is linked to neurological illnesses including Alzheimer’s and Huntingdon’s disease.

Another study, in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience, showed that hamsters given anabolic steroids became unusually aggressive. For two weeks the hamsters continued to attack other hamsters intruding onto their territory, before they returned to their usual behaviour. 

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Article Information

Title: Steroids risk brain damage
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 847
Date Added: 2nd Oct 2006


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