Reuters) – Factbox on some of the main substances  and methods used for doping in sport:

    ERYTHROPOIETIN (EPO)  

* EPO is a peptide hormone that is produced naturally by the  human body. EPO is released from the kidneys and acts on the  bone marrow to stimulate red blood cell production.

* By injecting EPO, athletes aim to increase their  concentration of red blood cells and, consequently, their  aerobic capacity. Health risks:

* EPO abuse can lead to serious health risks for athletes.  It is well known that EPO, by thickening the blood, leads to an  increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart  disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. Misuse of  EPO may also lead to autoimmune diseases with serious health  consequences. EPO has been implicated in the deaths of several  athletes.

    ANABOLIC STEROIDS

* Anabolic steroids are drugs that resemble testosterone, a  hormone which is produced in the testes of males and, to a much  lesser extent, in the ovaries of females.

* Because testosterone and related drugs affect muscle  growth, raising their levels in the blood could help athletes to   increase muscle size and strength. Athletes who use anabolic  steroids also claim that they reduce body fat and recovery time  after injury.Health risks:

* Anabolic steroids can cause high blood pressure, acne,  abnormalities in liver function, alterations in the menstrual  cycle in women, decline in sperm production and impotence in  men, kidney failure and heart disease. They can also make both  men and women more aggressive.

     HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE   

* Human growth hormone (hGH) – also called somatotrophin or  somatotrophic hormone – is a hormone that is naturally produced  by the body. It is synthesised and secreted by cells in the  anterior pituitary gland located at the base of the brain.

* The major role of hGH in body growth is to stimulate the  liver and other tissues to secrete insulin-like growth factor  (IGF-1). IGF-1 stimulates production of cartilage cells,  resulting in bone growth and also plays a key role in muscle and  organ growth. All of these can boost sporting performance.Health  risks:

* Commonly reported side effects for hGH abuse are diabetes  in prone individuals, worsening of heart diseases, muscle, joint  and bone pain, hypertension and cardiac deficiency, abnormal  growth of organs and accelerated osteoarthritis.

     SYNTHETIC OXYGEN CARRIERS       

* Synthetic oxygen carriers, such as haemoglobin based  oxygen carriers (HBOCs) or perflurocarbons (PFCs), are purified  proteins or chemicals that have the ability to carry oxygen.

* They are useful for emergency therapeutic purposes when  human blood is not available, the risk of blood infection is  high or when there is not enough time to properly cross-match  donated blood with a recipient. Health risks:

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