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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

the state on steroids

There's an interesting article on steroids over at LA Weekly, "Sympathy for the Devil". The author gives a fascinating overview of the history of steroids and their regulation and, how the Feds are "protecting" sick people from life saving drugs:
In the early days of HIV research, doctors used the immune cell CD4 as a marker. Healthy, HIV-negative people have a 1,000-to-1,500 CD4 count. When doctors talk about AIDS early intervention, they usually mean beginning treatment when someone’s CD4 count hovers between 400 and 600, while the syndrome itself is defined by a CD4 count below 200. Dullnig had a CD4 count of four. He should have been dead within weeks. Instead, he started taking steroids, regained 40 pounds and lived. That was the story published in Muscle Media — for a limited audience, this information started saving lives. Unfortunately there were a lot of lives to save.
All those stories you've heard about the damage steroids can do? Some of it's true, at the levels used by competitive bodybuiders. But at much lower levels, steroids can have all sorts of beneficial effects without harm:
“Steroids aren’t the wonder drug of tomorrow,” says Mark Gordon, a Los Angeles–based anti-aging doctor with more than 3,700 patients, including movie stars, studio heads and network executives. “Steroids are the wonder drug of right now. Just look at the diseases they treat. Patients with MS on steroids exhibit no symptoms [according to several studies done in Europe, where research is more advanced]. A full turnaround in AIDS wasting syndrome. I know athletes who had injuries that normally take nine months to heal after surgery — with an anabolic-steroid protocol, that time shrinks to two months. Do you wear glasses? Do you know there’s a muscle surrounding the eye that wears out as we age and steroids can keep it healthy?”
Thank goodness the Feds are on the case:
The Steroid Control Act of 2004 was essentially an update of the 1990 version. Twenty-six new substances were added to the list, and slightly less clunky and slightly less confusing language in the new bill replaced some clunky and confusing language from the old bill. The point, according to politicians, like California Congressman Henry Waxman, who were championing the bill, was to save our children and protect our sports. All of which raises some peculiar questions, since the point of the 1990 act was also to save our children and our sports, and that first bill did such a good job that we needed a new version some 15 years later.
Waxman, a Democrat, is one of the most horrid statists out there. There's no area of life that he doesn't believe should be under total control of the State. OK, maybe he thinks sodomy and abortion should be legal, but that's about it.

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