PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENTS? Major League Baseball, Ryan Braun, the MD Anderson Cancer Center and a group of obese monkeys

Major League Baseball ended the week on a sour note, and the hype surrounding free agency and successful labor negotiations may not dominate mainstream headlines in the immediate future.

Last night, ESPN reported that National League MVP Ryan Braun stands accused of testing positive for a banned performance enhancing substance. Buster Olney correctly explains that Braun is one of the most prominent professional baseball players to be associated with performance enhancing drugs. He faces a 50 game suspension if the allegations prove true.

The breaking news isn’t the only recent story to address the use of performance enhancing drugs by big leaguers. For example:

  • Last week, Major League Baseball officially reinstated Manny Ramirez. He previously retired from the sport after learning that he would serve a 100 game suspension. The suspension is the result of a second positive test that related to his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.
  • Federal prosecutors requested that Home Run Champ Barry Bonds be sentenced to serve time in prison for obstructing a grand jury’s investigation into the manufacture, distribution and use of performance enhancing drugs. He is eligible for probation but may also be sentenced to serve between 15 and 21 months in prison. The proceedings commence next week.

I’m not going to cover the details associated with these recent developments, the benefits and risks related to performance enhancing substances or the merits of the policies adopted by professional sports organizations. These are complex and controversial issues, and the talking heads can better explain the particulars and address the controversies. In other words, I’m passing the proverbial buck.

I did want to take this opportunity, however, to note that steroids and banned substances aren’t the only “enhancement” drugs that have received recent media coverage. Media outlets have also been buzzing about medical developments that don’t involve the ability to hit home runs, the power generated by sluggers or the distances associated with line drives. Instead, these medical developments consider the possibility that a new experimental drug could help overweight and obese adults lose relatively significant amounts of weight in a relatively short period of time. This experimental drug could have a number of uses, including the ability to supplement or enhance an exercise program.

Like Yogi Berra once explained, it’s like déjà vu, all over again.

Researchers at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are reporting that an experimental drug may help users lose significant amounts of fat. The experimental drug apparently kills cells responsible for providing nourishment to fatty tissues. A recent study conducted on monkeys revealed that this caused the subjects to lose approximately eleven percent of their body weight over the course of a month. The researchers have since applied for approval to begin testing humans.

The populous likely won’t reap the benefits associated with this or any other similar treatment for some time. These treatments still require substantial research and testing, and the approval process tends to be fairly lengthy. Folks looking for an immediate edge or an immediate enhancement for their weight loss routine may want to take a different approach: grab your iPod, head to the gym, and work really hard.

/rant off

2 responses to “PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENTS? Major League Baseball, Ryan Braun, the MD Anderson Cancer Center and a group of obese monkeys

  1. 2r2d December 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I don’t think baseball will ever get rid of cases like this.

    • solutiondown December 11, 2011 at 9:42 am

      Yeah. You’re right.

      You know, I don’t spend much time sweating about the problems with professional athletes – they’re more than able to fend for themselves, and a lot of folks out there are suffering from a lot worse. I know kids often look up to these guys, though, and for better or worse often view athletes as role models. Braun’s one of those guys, so the optimist in me is really, really hoping that there’s some sort of explanation or error in the process.

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