AUG 04, 2016 9:03 AM PDT

The Science of Performance Enhancing Drugs

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The Summer Olympics are set to open in Rio this Friday. Yet, months before this, scandals emerged of drug doping among Olympians. Chief among these scandals were Russian athletes who purportedly used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) against rules set by the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

What are PEDs and how does it affect the body? PEDs are substances that have the potential to give athletes a boost in performance that would not otherwise be derived from natural training and skills. These drugs alter biological functions, such as increasing anabolic reactions to build up muscle and strength. Stimulants are also common in order to improve focus, reaction time, and counter fatigue.

While the "performance-enhancing" aspects of PEDs make these substances seemingly desirable, there are serious adverse effects too. PEDs that alter normal hormone levels can trigger baldness, shrunken testicles, and irregular menstrual cycles. Furthermore, some anabolic steroids alter bad cholesterol and increase heart and circulatory problems.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 05, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 05, 2019
Cryonics: Science or Science Fiction?
Cryonics ("Cryo" related to Greek word for "cold") is a highly controversial method to deep freeze and store a deceased human body, hop...
DEC 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 17, 2019
Watch Seals Band Together to Scare a Great White Shark Away
Great white sharks are rather renowned for being massive and merciless predators of the ocean, and among their favorite prey are fur seals, which are rich...
JAN 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 08, 2020
Florence Nightingale: Nursing Pioneer, and Data Scientist?
Florence Nightingale, the pioneer in modern nursing care, served as a nurse manager in the Crimean War in the 1850s. Due to her wholeheartedly devotion to...
JAN 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 13, 2020
Lunar Dust is Actually Quite Dangerous to Humans
Most people have a tendency to think that lunar dust isn’t any different than the dirt found here on Earth, but quite the opposite is true. In fact,...
JAN 16, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 16, 2020
Babies in Africa Receive World's First Malaria Vaccine
Would you accept a vaccine that was only 40% effective? For those at risk of malaria, the answer is likely a resounding, "yes!" According to the...
FEB 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 17, 2020
SpaceX Launches More Starlink Satellites, But Fails First Stage Landing
SpaceX launched yet another one of its renowned Falcon 9 rockets on Monday, this time carrying a plethora of its Starlink satellites that will fortify the...
Loading Comments...