HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
At the Sydney Games, tests for erythropoietin (better known as EPO) became effective and many people believed the fight against doping was in the process of being won. But at the same time the organisers of the Games announced that tests for the use of human growth hormone would not be carried out. So doping always has a head-start. Growth hormone, which is thus used to expand and increase muscle volume as well as to modify the body and speed up the maturation of bones, is very fashionable in sport.HGH, also known as somatotropin, is a protein secreted by a gland at the base of the brain. It is a doping substance which enables muscle mass to be increased by 15-20kg in a matter of months. Growth hormone can be ingested orally or injected.There is now talk of genetic doping. Methods used to treat serious illnesses such as haemophilia and muscular dystrophy are apparently being used to help unscrupulous sportsmen and -women. Only genetic treatments used to cure diseases can provide a means of tracking down such cheats.