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Growth hormone debate continues

There's no end in sight to the debate of human growth hormone's performance enhancing properties as new Australian research shows the outlawed drug does little to improve performance. The research, carried out by the Gavan Institute and funded in part by the World Anti-Doping Agency, says that the growth hormone must be accompanied by doses of testosterone if it's to have any impact on performance.

"We were surprised to find that human growth hormone has no effect on muscle mass or sports performance," Professor Ken Ho reported of his findings to a world endocrinology meeting in Canada. "If it had a dramatic affect, we would have found it."

The research shows that while growth hormone increased body mass it has no effect on overall muscle mass or performance, unless taken with testosterone.

"The combined drug regime enhances the sensitivity of our tests and means we can detect sports dopers for weeks after they stop taking the banned substances," Ho told AAP. "This has major implications for random drug testing."

It's hoped Professor Ho's paper, which is based on a test of 100 recreational athletes, will deter up-and-coming sports men and women from using the substances.

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