Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Advantages of Performance-Enhancing Drugs Stay After Athletes Stop Usage

Justin Gatlin of the U.S. reacts after winning the men's 100m race during the Lausanne Diamond League meeting at the Stade de la Pontaise in Lausanne July 3, 2014.

(Photo : REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Researchers have discovered that the effects of taking drugs as an advantage in a sport can stay as long as decades after the athlete has stopped using them.

Scientists from the University of Ohio are researching on several performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as anabolic steroids. They found that a person's muscle can retain the advantages of what these PEDs gave.

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The researchers experimented on mice.

They found that when anabolic steroids are taken, bigger muscles as well are more nuclei are received. When the taking of steroids are stopped, the muscle mass goes away but the nuclei stays inside the muscle fibers.

This means that the muscles will still be raring to produce protein again when exercise is done.

Since muscle growth is similar in humans and mice, researchers received clear findings; a rare feat in the scientific community.

The biggest example to note is US athlete Justin Gatlin, who at 32 years old, ran the fastest time in the 100 meter Diamond League Title in Brussels.

The study places some focus on Gatlin, as he has previously served two suspensions for doping. More recently, last summer, he had place six out of the seven top 100 meter times in 2014.

Kristian Gundersen, a professor of physiology at the University of Ohio, said that the effects of these drugs could stay long after a person has stopped taking them. They could last for decades or even lifelong in humans.

These results have made Gundersen question the efficacy of the anti-doping system in sports.

When an athlete is caught with PEDs in his or her system, the first-time offenders will look to do no more than two years. Gundersen says that two and even four years is not enough for it.

While the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has approved for stricter punishments, doubling the ban for athletes to four years, many people are still feel that this is not enough.

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