GROWTH HORMONE SUBSTANCES CAN BE UNUSUALLY HIGH BECAUSE OF NATURAL ATTRIBUTES OF ELITE ATHLETES
Armanini, D., Faggian, D., Scaroni, C., & Plebani, M. (2002). Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor I in a Sydney Olympic gold medalist. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 36, 148-149.
"An Italian athlete who won a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games was studied. She was accused of doping after the finding of high levels of plasma growth hormone (GH) before the Games. She was studied firstly under stressed and then under unstressed conditions. In the first study, GH was measured every 20 minutes for one hour; it was above the normal range in all blood samples, whereas insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) was normal. In the second study, GH progressively returned to accepted normal levels; IGF-I was again normal. It was concluded that the normal range for GH in athletes must be reconsidered for doping purposes, because athletes are subject to stress and thus to wide variations in GH levels".
Implication. This case study illustrates the concern of scientists about targeting elite athletes for drug-testing and holding them to general-population standards. Sufficient published studies exist to support the contention that extremely successful athletes have unusual physiologies that predispose them to sporting success. Both natural endowments and sporting stress stimulate the formation of growth hormone factors. Fair evaluations would require elite athletes to be evaluated against their own norms when determining unusual levels of these substances.
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