Testing Athletes for Steroids

Question: Do you test athletes that use performance enhancers?

Gary Wadler: Well, there are two- first of all, to try to detect the abusive substances, we use basically body fluids and the classic body fluid has been urine. Not everything shows up in the urine. One such example, for the most part, is human growth hormone. In fact, less than two-tenths of one percent of the human growth hormone in your body ever shows up in the urine. And so people have spent a lot of time and money trying to develop a urine test. And Major League Baseball and the National Football League have contributed some dollars to try to do that as well, although over the last ten years have been five and ten million dollars have been spent in trying to develop a test for human growth hormone. Well, the conclusion was after a long series of meetings of experts and so on that the only available body fluids in which you can detect human growth hormone is blood. And so that is now part and parcel of the international schema for detecting the abuse of human growth hormone. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball and the National Football League are adamant in not having blood tested, which guarantees that there’s no way to detect that except in some sort of investigation, which has been the case.

Recorded on: 04/25/2008

Not everything shows up in urine, says Wadler.

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