advertisement
18 June 2008

Doping boost - all in the mind?

The "placebo effect" may play a part in the athletic performance-enhancing effects of growth hormone, particularly in men, new findings suggest.

0
The "placebo effect" may play a part in the athletic performance-enhancing effects of growth hormone, particularly in men, new findings suggest.

"Athletes are doping with growth hormone to improve performance, despite any firm scientific evidence that it does so," Dr Kenneth K. Ho said at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco.

Ho, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia and colleagues randomly assigned 64 young adult recreational athletes to get growth hormone or an inactive placebo, without the participants or researchers knowing which was which, for eight weeks.

"We found that athletes who believed that they were taking growth hormone actually felt that their performance had improved and actually demonstrated improvement in physical performance, even though they were taking a placebo," Ho reported.

'Mind plays tricks on body'
In general, everyone showed a small improvement in performance after the study, usually about one to two percent, he said.

"This is a well recognised training effect. But among those who wrongly thought they received growth hormone, the performance enhancement was about twice that - between three and five percent," Ho noted. "This phenomenon was far greater in men than in women."

"It is clear from our study that the mind plays amazing tricks on the body and this placebo effect has been known for many centuries. To our knowledge, this is the first study of the examination of a placebo effect in a sporting arena," Ho added.

The study was funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Australian Government Anti-Doping Research Programme. – (Reuters Health)

June 2008

Read more:
Hormone test in time for Olympics

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

FitnessNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Hello? »

SEE: Interesting facts about hearing loss Earworms: Let it go Is it bad to sleep with earplugs all the time?

SEE: Do women hear better than men?

The reason why men often appear not to be listening could be because they actually can't hear you.

Confident smile? »

Acidic drinks can harm your kids' smiles The facts on bleaching your teeth Am I taking good care of my teeth?

Why are my teeth stained?

We know the rules – brush your teeth twice a day and floss to keep them healthy. But, have you ever wondered what causes those stains that sometimes appear?