There has recently been reports of a rise in steroid use by young men trying to attain the perfect body. In the same way the media over the year has caused impressionable young women to adopt starvation diets, leading to anorexia and bulimia, there is evidence that more young men now feel under pressure to build muscle quick.
Latest research into the affect of using steroids to build bulging muscles has shown that they can cause a dramatic loss of brain cells.
Steroids raise levels of the male hormone testosterone which can destroy nerve cells. Researchers believe the effect might explain why some steroid users become aggressive and suicidal – a condition known as hyperexcitability. The condition is well known in the bodybuilding world, where it is referred to as roid rage.
Steroids can cause healthy cells to become “suicidal”, which can cause severe problems, and has been implicated in neurological illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and Huntingdon’s disease.
A recent US study published in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience found normally placid adolescent hamsters given anabolic steroids become incredibly aggressive.
The effects lasted almost two weeks – the equivalent of half their adolescence and post-mortems revealed changes in the hamsters’ brain activity.
Dr Richard Melloni, who led the research at Northeastern University in Boston, said it was likely the findings applied to humans.
So, once again, recent research has shown that the use of steroids can have very negative effects on health. The short term improved performance experienced by athletes and body builders certainly is not worth it against long term risks associated with steroid usage.
“Prolonged Alterations in the Serotonin Neural System Following theCessation of Adolescent Anabolic–Androgenic Steroid Exposure in Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus)” by Jill M. Grimes and Richard H. Melloni Jr. Behavioral Neuroscience 2006, Vol. 120, No. 6, 1242–125. Link to PDF: http://www.psych.neu.edu/faculty/r.melloni/pdfs/GrimesMelloni2006.pdf