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The Informed Parent

Scanning The Journals: Breastfeeding; Steroids

by John H. Samson, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Jan. 01, 1997

A Longitudinal Analysis of Infant Morbidity and the Extent of Breast Feeding in the United States: Pediatrics 1997; 99 (6) electronic pages

This is an interesting study. It seems to document that which many of us have felt all along. Infants born in the United States show a protection against ear infections and diarrhea when breast fed. The more breast milk consumed in the first six months of life the less likely they are to acquire ear infections or diarrhea. The study looked only at the first seven months of life. We'll have to wait to determine if nursing longer truly extends the protection.

Adolescents and Anabolic Steroids: A Subject Review: American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness: Pediatrics Vol. 99 #6, June 1997: p. 904

Too often society relegates the use of this type of medication to the professional athlete in quest of the gold, either in the form of a medal or money. In reality, as this article shows, a large number of teenagers use steroids to enhance strength, muscle mass, or self image. They are not looking for "the gold". The committee statement lists the possible adverse effects of Anabolic Steroids. For a complete list you may refer to the original article. Here are a few significant side effects:

  1. liver damage
  2. liver cancer
  3. testicle atrophy
  4. impotence
  5. prostate cancer
  6. breast atrophy
  7. uterine atrophy
  8. shorter adult height
  9. severe acne
  10. increased blood pressure
  11. increased cholesterol
  12. aggressiveness
  13. depression
  14. psychotic behavior

These ill effects are very damaging. As parents we must be informed and make sure that our adolescent offspring are also informed. Let's hope that parents, physicians, trainers and coaches carry this message to the young people under their care.

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