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