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Androgen Increases Muscle Strength in Older Men

Study shows significant improvement in those over 60

THURSDAY, June 20, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- The steroid androgen is back in the news, this time in a much less controversial way.

You may remember that a form of androgen was the "food additive" used by baseball slugger Mark McGwire a few years back when he shattered Roger Maris' long-standing single season home run record.

It appears androgen's strength-enhancing properties are evident in the older male population as well. Men between the ages of 60 and 87 who took an androgen called oxandrolone developed stronger upper and lower body muscles than men who took a placebo, says a new study.

The study group, under the control of the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, included 32 men. About two-thirds of them took 20 milligrams of oxandrolone daily for 12 weeks. The others took a placebo. Their muscle strength was checked weekly by testing the maximum weight they could lift using gym equipment.

The researchers also measured muscle mass and other lean tissue. By the 12th week, the men taking oxandrolone had significantly increased maximum voluntary strength in their legs and arms, the rersearchers found. The results were released yesterday at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco.

The authors say that most of the muscle gains in the men taking oxandrolone happened within the first six weeks, indicating that amount of treatment may be enough to improve strength and power in older men.

More information

Even though some questioned his record-setting year, Mark McGwire didn't violate the law or major league baseball rules. However, the Endocrine Society at the time issued this press release, warning of some of the possible harmful side effects androgen can bring.

Makers of androgen have also come under government scrutiny in recent years. This 1999 release from the Federal Trade Commission announces an agreement that caused androgen dsitributors to stop making false claims on the label.

SOURCE: Keck School of Medicine news release
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