Daniel S. Berman, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Berman D.; Could Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Responsible for Small Pituitary Volume in Retired Boxers?. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:144. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-150-2-200901200-00014
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(2):144.
TO THE EDITOR:
I read with great interest the recent report by Tanriverdi and colleagues (1). The authors report that 8 out of 17 retired boxers had growth hormone deficiency. They also reported that growth hormone deficiency correlated with small pituitary volume and suggested that the head trauma involved in boxing could explain this observation.
I would like to suggest an alternative explanation. Over the past year, much information has come to light regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports in the United States, particularly in baseball. Growth hormone and steroids have been the most commonly mentioned performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports. Even in sports with careful regulation, the use of growth hormone is difficult to detect because of the challenges involved in measuring exogenous growth hormone.
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