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New Risks of Steroids

Study shows that steroid use can cause premature brain aging.

Graphic of rain dissolving to illustrate risks of steroids

A new study reinforces the risks of steroids and why anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) use is not recommended as a means to enhance athletic performance or increase muscle mass. Researchers from Oslo University Hospital revealed the risks of steroids, finding that using AAS over time accelerates brain aging, which is linked with cognitive impairment and a higher risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Steroid hormones readily enter the brain, and receptors for sex hormones are found throughout the brain.

“This important study  shows in a large sample that [AAS] use is associated with deviant brain aging, with a potential impact on quality of life in older age,” said lead study author Astrid Bjornebekk, PhD, Oslo University Hospital.

Read the study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (2021; 6 [5], 570–89).

See also: Sleep: The Athlete’s Steroid

Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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