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Anabolic Steroids… Breaking News!

Steroids May Harm Athletes’ Kidneys

SAN DIEGO – Athletes who use anabolic steroids may seriously damage their kidneys, according to new findings presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s Renal Week conference.

“Athletes who use anabolic steroids and the doctors caring for them need to be aware of the potentially serious risks to the kidney,” said lead investigator Leal Herlitz, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Reports of professional athletes who abuse anabolic steroids are increasingly common.  Most people know that using steroids is not good for their health, but until now their effects on the kidneys have not been known. 

Dr. Herlitz and her colleagues recently conducted the first study describing injury to the kidneys following long-term abuse of anabolic steroids. They studied a group of 10 bodybuilders (six Caucasians and four Hispanics) who used steroids for many years and experienced proteinuria and severe reductions in kidney function. 

The men were seen between 1999 and 2009 and had highly muscular physiques. All were long-term anabolic androgenic steroid abusers, had proteinuria of 1g/day or greater, and a renal biopsy diagnosis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). The average BMI was 34.7 kg/m2 (range: 27-43).  The men presented with proteinuria (mean 10.1 g/day, range 1.3- 26.3 g/day) and renal insufficiency (mean serum creatinine 3.0 mg/dL, range: 1.3- 7.8 mg/dL).  Five men presented with full nephritic syndrome.

It is well known that FSGS typically occurs when the kidneys are overworked. The kidney damage observed in this group of bodybuilders had similarities to that seen in morbidly obese patients, but appeared to be even more severe.  Renal biopsy revealed FSGS in nine of the patients; four of the nine patients also had glomerulomegaly. One patient had glomerulomegaly alone. Three biopsies showed collapsing lesions of FSGS and four had perihilar lesions. Seven of the 10 men had tubular atrophy of 40% or greater and interstitial fibrosis.

“It is important to recognize that all the people in this series were long-term abusers, ranging from eight to 20 years of use,” explained Dr. Herlitz, who presented study findings at the 2009 Renal Week conference here. “So, it is unlikely that someone who uses for a few months is going to be significantly harmed. I really have no basis for estimating the prevalence of this problem and I’m hoping that this study will bring attention to the issue so that people will be aware of the entity and we can start to better understand who is affected and why.”

Follow-up data were available for eight of the 10 patients. The mean follow-up was 2.2 years. One patient progressed rapidly to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and seven patients received renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockade. One of these seven also received corticosteroid therapy. All seven patients who received RAS blockade discontinued anabolic androgenic steroids and reduced their exercise regimens. They also lost weight and had a stabilization or improvement in serum creatinine and a decrease in proteinuria.

Although the bodybuilders who discontinued steroid use experienced improvement in their kidney abnormalities, one individual with advanced kidney disease progressed to ESRD and required dialysis. One subject started taking steroids again and suffered a relapse, developing progressive proteinuria and renal insufficiency.

Compared with historical controls who had obesity-related glomerulopathy, FSGS in these bodybuilders was a more severe form of the disease with higher creatinine and proteinuria levels at presentation. These patients also tended to have more glomerular and tubulointerstitial scarring.

The researchers proposed that extreme increases in muscle mass require the kidneys to increase their filtration rate, placing harmful levels of stress on the kidneys. “As in obese patients, the increased strain on the kidney from the elevated body mass leads to hyperfiltration injury,” Dr. Herlitz explained.

It is also likely that steroids have direct toxic effects on the kidneys. “Numerous animal models have shown adverse effects of androgens on the kidneys and we believe that the anabolic steroids themselves may be directly nephrotoxic,” she said.

Player’s Union and Steroids

There are reports saying that major league baseball will be administering blood tests for HGH to minor leaguers this season. The player’s union has already stated that they prefer the testing use urine samples instead of blood.

It is typical of the player’s union to cloud the issue by saying there is a better alternative to the blood tests while knowing that urine testing is only in the development stage. This is a stalling tactic by the player’s union to let players continue to use HGH knowing it could take years to develop a urine test for HGH.
Union Not Interested in Policing Steroids

As far as I know the only way a baseball player can be suspended for HGH is if it is found in their possession. One thing for certain is that the player’s union still has not learned to police the use of steroids by its members and has no interest in letting anyone else conduct blood tests for HGH.

There could be players using HGH today in the major leagues since there is no way to detect the use of HGH. It is clear to see the major league player’s union is more interested in keeping the status quo than in actually stopping the use of HGH.

With the union protecting the players from drug testing the players have the green light to keep using HGH. Bud Selig claims to have steroids  under control but how can they be under control when players can use HGH without any consequences.

As long as a player doesn’t bring the HGH into their locker room there is almost no chance of being caught with the substance. MLB might be able to follow a paper trail if the HGH is purchased from a mail order supplier but even then it would be tough to prove that is was ever used.

HGH Testing Removes All Doubt

However if it is discovered in a locker room it clearly shows a player intended to or already had taken it. With blood testing for HGH there would be no question of whether a player was using it or not.

The detractors are saying there has only been one positive test in six years in which the British rugby player was found with HGH in his blood. Still it proved that the blood test does work and should be implemented immediately by major league baseball. Just knowing the HGH blood test was being given would persuade most players not to use it whether it is a perfect test or not.

After the initial reports of minor leaguers being tested for HGH were made known earlier this week this article from New York Daily News states that Bud Selig won’t be instituting HGH testing anytime soon.

Just when it looked like MLB and the player’s union were serious about removing steroids from baseball it now looks like neither entity really cares enough to prevent the use of HGH in the near future. Congress may have to remind them again before they actually get serious again about removing steroids from baseball.

Book thrown at McGwire

Jay McGwire heard big brother Mark McGwire say last month he only took steroids to heal, and not to get stronger. That doesn’t match Jay’s recollection.

“Mark knew that he was going to get the strength and endurance and size. I know that the main motive to justify taking steroids was healing,’’ Jay McGwire said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I know that for a fact. But in the long run he knew the strength and the size and endurance will increase. I don’t know why he’s coming across that it was all healing.’’

Estranged from his brother for eight years because of a family dispute, Jay McGwire has gone public in “Mark and Me: Mark McGwire and the Truth Behind Baseball’s Worst-Kept Secret,’’ which is scheduled for publication Monday.

When he finally admitted last month that he used steroids, Mark McGwire said it was only for healing. His brother said that was the initial purpose but it’s obvious the slugger also gained strength.

Jay McGwire says in the book he persuaded his brother to start using steroids regularly in 1994 and set him up with a supplier. He says Mark regularly used an array of drugs that included Deca-Durabolin, human growth hormone, Dianabol, Winstrol, and Primobolan in addition to androstenedione, a steroid precursor that wasn’t banned by baseball until 2004, when it became a controlled substance.

Looking ahead

Adrian Gonzalez said he sacrificed dollars for security the last time he signed with the Padres, and that won’t be the case when his next contract comes up.

Gonzalez has one year remaining on his current deal with a team option for the 2011 season. He says he’s looking for “value’’ when it’s time to talk contract again.

The slugger hit .277 with 40 homers and 99 RBIs in 160 games last season. He has 130 home runs in four seasons with the Padres despite playing his home games at spacious Petco Park.

“This next contract is going to be the one where I look for what I deserve,’’ Gonzalez said. “I’m going to let my agent worry about those negotiations, but in talking to my agent, it’s going to be about where my value is. If they want to keep me around, they’ll find a way to keep me around. There hasn’t been any talks about anything other than just go out and play, which I told them I’m going to do.’’

In April 2007, Gonzalez signed a $9.5 million, four-year deal. The 2011 club option is for $5.5 million.

Happy to be here

Derek Jeter reiterated what every Yankees fan wanted to hear: He hopes to play in pinstripes forever. He just doesn’t want to spend time talking about it.

“I’ve said from Day One, this is the only organization I’ve ever wanted to play for, and that’s still true today,’’ Jeter said.

“I was a Yankees fan growing up. This is where I want to be. I’ve never envisioned myself playing anywhere else, and hopefully I don’t have to.’’

The 35-year-old Jeter is entering the final season of a 10-year, $189 million deal. The All-Star shortstop said he doesn’t have a set number of years in mind that he’d like to continue playing and steered around a question about whether he has a desire to be the Yankees’ highest-paid player.

He said this will be the final time he speaks about his contract status.

Jeter hit .334 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs in 2009, leading New York to its first World Series championship in nine years.

“To be honest with you, I never put limitations on how long I can play . . . I want to play as long as I can, as long as I’m having fun, as long as I can be productive,’’ Jeter said. “This organization prides itself on winning and putting a competitive team on the field. As long as I can help out, that’s as long as I want to play.’’

Grab a glove

Vladimir Guerrero will do more than be the designated hitter for the Rangers this season. Manager Ron Washington says he plans to use the slugger in right field from time to time because “that’s what he wants to do. We want to keep him happy. If he’s happy, I’m ecstatic.’’ The 35-year-old Guerrero comes to Texas after a six-year stint with the Angels, for whom he batted .319 and hit 173 home runs. “He still has a presence,’’ Washington said. “He still has bat speed and he still is a tremendous hitter that creates fear. When pitchers fear you, they make mistakes. He’s a force to be reckoned with.’’ Guerrero signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2011. In other Rangers news, center fielder Josh Hamilton left morning workouts after bruising his left shoulder. No MRI is scheduled and he is listed as day-to-day . . . Former World Series MVP Livan Hernandez agreed to a minor league contract with the Nationals. If added to the 40-man roster, the righthander would get a $900,000, one-year contract and the chance to earn $1.25 million in performance bonuses . . . Veteran catcher Rod Barajas joined the Mets, finalizing a $500,000, one-year contract. The Mets designated lefthander Arturo Lopez for assignment . . . The Indians officially announced the signing of Russell Branyan to a one-year, $2 million deal, with a $5 million mutual option for 2011.

Researchers probe steroids as treatment

Can cheap and readily available treatments like steroids and cholesterol-lowering statin drugs help save the sickest of H1N1 patients? New efforts by researchers in Canada, the United States and France could help answer this pressing question.Randomized controlled studies looking at whether corticosteroids, statins or a combination of the two could contribute to improved survival rates in gravely ill pandemic flu patients are being organized in the three countries by linked networks of intensive care specialists, according to Dr. John Marshall, chair of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group.The aim is to try to gather data fast enough to answer the questions in real time, a goal that eluded researchers during SARS.Toronto physicians treating SARS cases tried to mount a clinical trial to see whether the antiviral drug ribavirin — which was routinely given to SARS patients for lack of other options — was actually helping. But before the trial could be approved, the disease disappeared. The same could happen with this effort, admits Marshall.

Steroids kill fitness champ

Gym instructor unexpectedly dies of ‘mild malaria’ because, doctors suspect, his internal organs had been ravaged by use of steroids

Mahesh Khokarale, a 25-year-old instructor with Gold’s Gym, had everything going for him. The fitness freak and bodybuilder had won the Mumbai Shree title last year and was training for the Bharat Shree competition scheduled for February 2010.
After that, he was planning to get married in May. But, all the dreams vaporised on Saturday morning when Mahesh passed away due to ‘mild malaria’.
Doctors say it was not the malaria that killed him, but use of steroids which had weakened his liver so much that when illness struck, his body could not fight back.

Mahesh was an instructor with the Worli branch of Gold’s Gym. A resident of Ramdoot building near Currey Road Railway Station, he had mild fever on October 31. “He took some medicine before going to work. All of us thought it was a regular fever and there was nothing to worry about,” said Sukhdev Khokarale, Mahesh’s elder brother.

On Sunday, when the fever persisted, Mahesh decided to rest at home. On Monday, accompanied by his fiancé, Mahesh went to KEM Hospital for a blood test and specialised treatment. But, at the hospital, he collapsed and went into coma. He was taken to the emergency ward and then shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The blood test report, which came on Tuesday, revealed that he was suffering from mild malaria. “A patient does not go into coma and neither does the liver fail in case of mild malaria. His liver was damaged even before the malaria struck,” said a doctor at KEM.

Doctors, however, admitted that they had no record of Mahesh’s medical history, as he was admitted only after he collapsed. “We suspect he was on steroids since he was a fitness trainer and also a body builder. Secondly, liver damage leading to death in case of mild malaria is unheard of. His family too said that we must treat him assuming that he was on steroids,” said another doctor at KEM.


According to Sukhdev, Mahesh used to wake up at 5.30 am every day and exercise in between his work at the gym. “He had no vices and was very particular about his diet. We don’t know if he used steroids to pump up his body.”

Althea Shah, general manager, fitness and operations at Gold’s Gym, said, “Mahesh was with us for five years and popular among our clients. As a trainer with us, there was no need for him to take steroids. He may have taken them last year when he took part in a competition,” she said adding what trainers do outside the gym is ‘not something we look at’.

Dr Sanjay Oak, dean at KEM Hospital, who was involved in Mahesh’s case, did not deny that the case got complicated because of steroids, but refused to elaborate. “I will not be able to say anything about the case, as it falls under the purview of patient confidentiality,” he said.

Expert Speak

These days, youngsters use steroids to get pumped-up bodies like film stars. They end up using anabolic steroids without prescription or guidance from qualified doctors. They do not even know about the harmful side-effects and that steroids should be taken only after a careful examination of their bodies. Constant use of steroids or consumption in large quantities damages liver and kidneys.

—Dr P L Tiwari, cardiologist and physician, Bombay Hospital

Most people who want better bodies use anabolic steroids, which are very different from the ones that doctors prescribe. Anabolic steroids strengthen the muscles. However, prolonged use can damage kidneys and the liver. It is extremely essential that steroids are taken under medical observation and, that too, after a proper check-up. In this case, the patient died due to liver failure after mild malaria. Liver failure in mild malaria is very rare.

—Dr Anita Matthew, physician and specialist in infectious diseases, Wockhardt Hospital

Apart from anabolic steriods, androzens and testosterone steriods are commonly used by trainers. Plus, there are lots of new steroids in the market, which even we don’t know of. Such steriods can have an adverse affect on our organs.

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