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HgH Blood Test


weams

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Major League Baseball is eyeing the development of a mass-use blood test for human growth hormone and would push to have it implemented, USA Today reported.

The blood test, which was developed under the oversight of the World Anti-Doping Agency and was used on a limited basis in the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2006 Winter Games, will be available for mass use within months, WADA science director Olivier Rabin told the newspaper. "This is great news, because we strongly believe that human growth hormone is abused in sports," he said.

I'm not sure how close they are to having an effective HGH test. They've been reportably "on the verge" for at least 5 or 10 years, perhaps longer.

BBC Sport: Human growth hormone explained

Why is it so hard to test for?

HGH occurs naturally in the body, which makes it hard to distinguish between what is produced regardless of outside interference and what is an administered dose.

And it is almost impossible to set a blood level of HGH that would be considered unnaturally high and indicative of doping, because levels of naturally-occurring HGH can vary by more than 100-fold in response to factors such as nutritional state, sleep and exercise.

An article which I read several months ago said that it was necessary to have the athlete refrain from training for a period prior to the test in order to get a valid result -- not too practical for someone preparing to compete in the Olympics.

International Herald Tribune: New test to detect human growth hormone may catch doping athletes, experts say

It has been notoriously difficult to identify athletes illegally using human growth hormone. Not only is the hormone naturally produced in the body — making it harder to detect synthetic versions — but the concentrations of it normally circulating in the body vary enormously and can disappear within minutes.

The new test works by finding proteins triggered by the hormone. "We've been able to identify markers that show abuse by measuring when other hormones and proteins released by human growth hormone reach certain levels," said Dr. Olivier Rabin, WADA's science director. Rabin said that these biological markers are not affected by any other differences between athletes, such as ethnicity, gender, or physiology.

WADA has already introduced another test, which identifies the synthetic version of human growth hormone in the body, on a limited scale. That test was in place at the Athens and Turin Olympic Games. The agency hopes to use both tests together to maximize their chances of detection.

.... While designing the new test, Ho and his colleagues also made another interesting discovery: Human growth hormone doesn't work on its own.

In their research, Ho and colleagues looked at the effects produced by human growth hormone on its own and in combination with testosterone, in nearly 100 recreational athletes.

In the study, 64 men were given either a placebo, human growth hormone, testosterone, or a combination of the latter two, for eight weeks. In the other half of the study, 33 women were given a placebo or the growth hormone, for eight weeks. Their physical performances were then tested in various categories, including how much weight they could lift, how high they could jump and how fast they could sprint.

"We found that growth hormone does not increase muscle mass or improve performance," Ho said. "Only when you combine growth hormone with testosterone does it have an effect," he said. When taken together, the two substances have a synergistic effect, lowering the body's fluid and fat levels while building muscle.

But the conclusions from Ho's study are limited. ....

Of course, testosterone is also produced naturally by the body, so perhaps an athlete whose body naturally generated higher levels of testosterone than average would still benefit from HGH without needing to take steroids too?

But the gist of the article seemingly suggests that it's not necessary to test for HGH because they're already testing for steroids and the athlete would need to figure out how to avoid flunking his steroids tests and still get any benefit from spending a couple thousand a month for HGH.

One of the problems which WADA and the cycling association have with being on the cutting edge of testing technology is that they might not vet those test adequately to ensure that some people who aren't cheating may have variations in their body physiology which might still cause them to flunk a drug test.

Back in the eighties, the military had to toss out thousands of urinalysis drug test results because studies revealed the tests produced both false positives and false negatives. I imagine that was small consolation for those in the military whose careers may have been ruined based upon false positive tests -- I recall a 60 Minutes profile of an Air Force captain, a navigator on B-52 bombers loaded with nuclear weapons, who was court martialed and booted out based upon a positive test for marijuana when he swore up and down that he'd never used marijuana.

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