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05-07-2015

Incredible Bulk or Incredible Hulk? Side Effects of Steroid Use Detailed in Clarkson University Research

A lot of hard work, practice and dedication can help you sculpt a well-muscled body, but anabolic steroids will get you there a lot faster. What will it cost you, though?

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani (right) and two of his students, Holly S. Bronson (left) and Britni R. Keitz.To help sort speculation from fact about the side effects, Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani and two of his students have just published an opinion paper in Medical Research Archives. The short side of the long story of their research-based conclusion is: Don't use steroids.

“It's a hot topic, but we can't do clinically-based steroid research. It's illegal and unethical,” says Boolani. “We started this project last summer to explore what's known on side effects, and my students spent hundreds of hours each sifting through current information. They did a great job.”

The allure of a bigger, stronger, faster body is as enticing as the huge paychecks professional athletes can command, but the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (synthetic testosterone) also creates some powerful and contradictory conditions, according to Boolani and students Britni R. Keitz and Holly S. Bronson.

Side effects include: acne, increased body hair, aggressive behavior, fluid retention, elevated blood pressure, sleeplessness, increased irritability, feelings of low libido, increased sex drive, increased appetite, sweating, increased feeling of well-being, depressive mood states, loss of head hair, and gynaecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men).

Keitz, a student in the doctor of physical therapy program, worked with Bronson, a senior pre-physical therapy honors student majoring in psychology, to update all the sources in an initial draft of the opinion paper. They reviewed literature, evaluated sources, and checked with publishing requirements for professional journals.

“I found a lot more new research, so I added it and tried to get two sides of the issue but there's a lot of inconsistent data. Much of the information on steroid use is from questionnaires,” Keitz says. “I found it amazing, though, what psychological changes the studies report -- depression and homicidal feelings.”

Bronson adds, “It's sad to risk your health to get ahead. This research can help open people's eyes to the negative effects of steroids so they can make an informed decision before they take anything.”

After all their research, now the Clarkson students and their professor have added to reference material for others. Their paper, “The Effects of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids on Performance and its Adverse Side Effects in Athletes” is published in Issue 1, 2015, of Medical Research Archives.

See an abstract of the paper at http://www.journals.ke-i.org/index.php/mra/article/view/67 .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy & Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani (right) and two of his students, Holly S. Bronson (left) and Britni R. Keitz, have just published an opinion paper on the side effects of steroid use in Medical Research Archives.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/boolani-steroids.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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