Friday, March 21, 2008

HGH Study Redux

Dex at Gaslamp Ball accuses me of offering misleading commentary in connection with this post the other day about that Standford HGH study.

I'll admit that the post would have done much better to have a question mark after "The HGH Myth" in the title, as the study described in the article I linked to does -- as I said in the post -- have a ton of caveats. But to claim, like Gaslamp does, that I have some sort of PED-apologist agenda, or that my post, when linked by someone like THT creates some misleading propaganda campaign is silly.

The three assertions in my post were (1) a study just came out suggesting that the notion that HGH helps athletes may be wrong; (2) of course this is not definitive because there are many, many caveats in the study; and (3) no matter how thin the evidence in this study is, the evidence that so many rely on to brand players as PED users is just as thin if not thinner. I know I'm biased, but I'm having a hard time seeing where any of those three propositions are false.

More to the point, neither Dex (to my knowledge) or myself are scientists, so what either of us say about the study doesn't really amount to a hill of beans (unlike my longer opinion pieces, the point of that post was to simply put the article out there for people to read). I may have been off base in calling the effect of HGH a "myth", but as the critical reader comments after my post indicate, I'm obviously not fooling anyone, mostly because I'm not trying to.


JC said...

I work with exercise physiologists who are familiar with the research on the subject. A family member of mine works synthesizes growth hormone for a living. I have spent numerous hours discussing the potential ergogenic effects of growth. The scientific consensus is that growth hormone ("HGH" is the name pushers call it) does not improve athletic performance or help healthy individuals in any way. That HGH might help is indeed a "myth" perpetuated by a study a NEJM study in the early-1990s on elderly subjects, which has since been refuted. This isn't a rogue study, and the fact that it isn't perfect (that study will never be done) doesn't mean that it lacks value.

It is possible that one day we will find evidence that growth hormone is a legitimate PED like anabolic steroids? Absolutely, but that is no reason to believe that it works based on the evidence we have seen.

Crawdaddy said...

jc is pretty much on the money. the only thing i would like to add is that a guy named ho working in sydney will soon be publishing a study that shows that hGH did not increase strength or sprinting, but hGH combined with testosterone increased sprinting performance (though not strength). it seems they MIGHT be onto something, but it is definately a study that needs to be repeated.