We have fantastic, non-sports news for you! New drugs have been developed to help people with various medical problems, including muscular dystrophy, caner and kidney disease.
The drugs all work by blocking a substance called myostatin that the body normally produces to keep muscles from getting too big.
Awesome! But wait.
Research intended to help people with muscle-wasting diseases could be about to launch a new era in performance-enhancing drugs.
Oh, right. Obviously.
It’s likely that at least one of the drugs will receive FDA approval in the next few years, researchers say.
But, they’ll test for it, right? This isn’t a big deal…
Now, he says, it looks like myostatin-blocking drugs will provide a cheaper, easier and more attractive option. For one thing, Sweeney says, these products will probably leave no trace once an athlete stops taking them.
“They would have a finite sort of time that they would reside in the body and then they would be cleared,” he says. “And so, unlike gene therapy, if you timed it right you might not be able to detect that they had been used.”
Cheap, easy, attractive, undetectable. There’s a sexual joke in there that I can’t quite figure out.
One reason is that athletes and bodybuilders have seen pictures of animals like Belgian Blue bulls, which naturally lack myostatin and appear to be made of muscle. “They’re huge,” Colker says. “I mean they’re ridiculous looking.”
Wanna see ridiculous looking? How about the NPR video of “mighty mice” created using myostatin-blockers.
These mice are bad news. I must note that the article doesn’t specifically mention any performance-enhancing benefits besides muscle growth, which obviously isn’t nearly-perfectly-correlated with athletic performance. So, it remains to be seen exactly how effective these drugs would be outside of bodybuilding.
But still, bad news. Except for the helping-people thing. Let’s focus on that.