June 14, 2006 A world-first pilot study suggests that anabolic steroids, best known for doping in sports, may in fact help older people recover better after joint replacement surgery.
Associate Professor Erik Hohmann hopes to extend the initial pilot into a larger study after finding benefits for recuperating patients, even though only low doses of the drug were used to avoid side effects.
Benefits identified already include better muscle strength, mobility and bone mineral density.
Associate Professor Hohmann said joint replacement is an increasingly common operation for the 60+ set (it's the main treatment for end-stageosteo-arthritis) as populations are aging.
"It seems we can build muscle and bone density faster and this helps the patients mobilise faster, which in turn improves their general overall health," he said.
The researcher is Director of the Musculoskleletal Research Unit at Central Queensland University. The research is in collaboration with the Department of Orthopaedics at Rockhampton Hospital.
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