The Times of India website recently published a news story that did its best to demonize anabolic steroids. The was clear from reading the headline alone – ‘Steroids Can Kill’. The article blamed the death of twenty-eight year old Dev Luthra on a fatal overdose of steroids. Luthra allegedly experimented with steroids for the first time before his wedding. He had hoped that the physique-enhancement drugs would help him tone his abdominals to achieve a defined ‘six-pack’. Instead of achieving a six-pack, Luthra ended up dead.
The details of Luthra’s death are, not surprisingly, glossed over by the Times propaganda piece. Luthra died from “swelling of the brain”. The brain inflammation was attributed to his use of steroids in the months prior to his death. The medical community has researched androgens for over fifty years. The common side effects of steroids are well-known and well-documented. “Swelling of the brain” is not generally considered a symptom of steroid use.
The alleged link between anabolic steroids and brain swelling was also blamed for the death of teenage bodybuilder Matthew Dear on April 20, 2009. Dear reportedly died from swelling of the brain. Dear’s parents blamed steroids for cause the brain swelling as well as the blindness, intoxication, abdominal pains, convulsions and kidney failure that precipitated his death.
The death of young men who have used steroids is tragic. However, the desire to assign blame to steroids as an explanation for such tragic often prevents the true cause of death from being discovered.
It also discredits educators who are attempting to inform individuals about the real side effects of anabolic steroids. If steroid use, or at least the harm that accompanies steroids, is to be reduced, then it is crucial that educators have credibility among the population of steroid-using individuals. To do this, steroid education must eschew unsubstantiated propaganda that demonizes steroids and promote an evidence-based approach to teaching bodybuilders how to minimize the harm associated with the drugs.
IANS. (July 13, 2012). Steroids can kill: Dark side of body building. Retrieved from http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/Steroids-can-kill-Dark-side-of-body-building/articleshow/14864193.cms