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Hypogonadism is a medical term for a defect of the reproductive system which results in lack of function of the gonads (ovaries or testes). The gonads have two functions: to produce hormones (testosterone, estradiol, antimullerian hormone, progesterone, inhibin B), activin and to produce gametes (eggs or sperm). Deficiency of sex hormones can result in defective primary or secondary sexual development, or withdrawal effects (e.g., premature menopause) in adults. Defective egg or sperm development results in infertility. more...

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The term hypogonadism is usually applied to permanent rather than transient or reversible defects, and usually implies deficiency of reproductive hormones, with or without fertility defects. The term is less commonly used for infertility without hormone deficiency.


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Bad sports: congress takes a swing at steroid abuse
From Current Events, 9/9/05

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On March 17, Rafael Palmeiro testified under Oath at a congressional hearing on steroids in sports. Jabbing his finger into the air for emphasis, he declared, "I have never used steroids. Period."

But that period quickly turned into a question mark. During a random drug test four months later, the Baltimore Orioles star tested positive for a powerful steroid. Major League Baseball (MLB) suspended Palmeiro for 10 days, docking his $3 million salary by about $164,000.

The announcement came just weeks after Palmeiro--one of baseball's top all-time home-run hitters--became the fourth player in major-league history to reach 3,0001 and 500 home runs.

Palmeiro told reporters that he would never "intentionally" use steroids--especially in a year when he was poised to reach a major hitting milestone. He said he had no idea how the drug got into his body and even speculated that someone had tampered with his nutritional supplements.

"I made a mistake," he said. "I hope the fans forgive me."

'Roid Rage

Palmeiro was the seventh MLB player to make that "mistake" this season. Although most of the offenders were lesser-known players, some of baseball's biggest names have been linked to the sport's growing steroid scandal.

Record-setting Barry Bonds admitted during grand jury testimony last year to unknowingly using steroids. The San Francisco Giants player said he thought he was using arthritis cream, not steroids. Bonds, who has never failed a drug test, is sitting out this season because of a knee injury.

The New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi is the only prominent baseball player to publicly admit to using steroids. Giambi said he used performance enhancers during the 2003 season--and hit 41 home runs.

Doping in sports isn't limited to baseball. Sprinter Kelli White was stripped of her world track-and-field titles last year after she admitted to using steroids. And Miami Dolphins wide receiver David Boston tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs last December.

Passing the Test?

Each sport tackles drug testing differently. The National Football League (NFL) has the strictest policy--its players are subject to year-round drug tests. First-time offenders are suspended for a quarter of the regular football season.

The National Basketball Association suspends first-time offenders for five games; MLB suspends them for 10 days. The National Hockey League will start conducting random drug tests this season.

Some members of Congress say the leagues' policies aren't strict enough. With 162 games in a baseball season, MLB's current penalties are barely a slap on the wrist, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) told Current Events. "It's a joke. A 10-day suspension in baseball is basically a vacation. It has no deterrent impact."

Two Strikes, You're Out?

Shays and other legislators say government action is necessary because athletes' steroid use is rubbing off on hundreds of thousands of teens nationwide. (See Side Trip.)

"The 'breakfast of champions' is chock full of juice," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) declared during a congressional hearing on steroids last spring. "Our young athletes use drugs like steroids because [they] know that ... the field today is not level and they want to be in the game."

Legislators say the key to kicking the steroid epidemic is a tough, uniform policy regulating all four major professional leagues. They have introduced several bills targeting steroid abuse. The House of Representatives could vote on a steroid bill as early as this year.

One such bill, the Clean Sports Act, calls for athletes to undergo random drug testing at least three times during the season and twice during the off-season. Players who test positive would be banned from their sport for two years. Second-time offenders would be thrown out of the game for life. Those are the same penalties that apply to athletes competing in the Olympics.

Some people say the bill's proposed punishments are too harsh. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue points out that the average NFL player's career lasts less than four years.

But Sen. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says tough penalties are crucial. "For me, this bill is less about sports than it is about public health," Waxman said last spring. "Aspiring young athletes need to know that steroid use in the pros leads to suspension and expulsion, not homerun records and adulation."

Others say steroids' side effects--including risk of heart attacks and strokes--are punishment enough. "Eventually it'll catch up with you," Buffalo Bills receiver Eric Moulds, who steers clear of steroids, told the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. "When you get older, the side effects will be there. I think guys are realizing that and saying that [doping's] not worth it. Myself, I'd rather live a long life and see my grandkids."

Side trip

Teens and Steroids

Star running back and wrestler Joshua Dupont (below right) was among the athletic elite at his Southern California high school. But when his coaches started praising a stronger, faster teammate, Joshua resorted to a drastic measure to stay on top--steroids.

The results, Joshua claims, were visible in just three days. "I could spend the entire day at the gym and just keep pumping iron, working the same muscle without fatigue," he told Newsweek. "It was incredible."

Joshua quickly learned that steroids' seemingly effortless results come with a price. Steroid users can develop severe acne, hair loss, violent mood swings, and paranoia. They also may suffer from heart attacks, strokes, and liver problems. Female users can end up with excessive body hair and deep voices. Male users can develop breasts.

Steroids are especially bad for teens. The drugs can cause teens' bones to fuse prematurely, permanently stunting their growth. Steroids also cause muscles to grow without strengthening the tendons that attach the muscles to bones--leading to an increased risk of injuries.

The drugs can also spark aggression. "When I was hitting someone, I couldn't stop," Mike Bauch, a former high school wrestler who has used steroids on and off since seventh grade, told Newsweek.

Doctors warn that users' aggression can quickly turn to despondency once they stop using the "juice." Several high school athletes have even committed suicide after using steroids.

Despite the dangers, studies show that a growing number of teens are trying on steroids for size. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.3 percent of high school girls and 6.8 percent of high school boys have used steroids. Some doctors even estimate that as many as 1 million teens nationwide have tried steroids.

"I'm worried about kids," Dr. Donald A. Malone, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic, told the Taylor Hooton Foundation. "Elite athletes know the side effects.... Kids don't have the knowledge."

Consider This ... How would you punish professional athletes who use steroids?

History Quest

Each issue, Quest features a mystery or place. Find the answer and you $25 gift certificate to and be entered to win a 5100 grand prize in May!

Professional athletes aren't the only people suspected of doping. Scholars say these Viking warriors ingested psychedelic mushrooms before battle. The drugs made them so crazed that they bit the edges of their shields and wore bearskin instead of armor because they allegedly couldn't feel pain. The warriors were so deranged that their name became a synonym for insane. Who were these warriors?

Get Talking

Ask students: What are steroids? Why might athletes be tempted to use steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs? Can you name any athletes who have been caught using steroids? What happened to them?

Notes Behind the News

* Anabolic steroids are compounds that mimic the effects of the male hormone testosterone. They build strength by entering a muscle cell and switching on the genes that make muscle proteins. Weight lifting stresses the muscles, increasing the steroids' effect.

* Scientists created anabolic steroids in the late 1930s to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes do not produce enough testosterone. Today, steroids are also used to treat teens with delayed puberty.

* Bodybuilders and weightlifters started experimenting with anabolic steroids after scientists discovered the drugs increased the growth of muscles in laboratory animals.

* The average adult male creates 35 to 50 milligrams of testosterone in his testes each week. Athletes who use anabolic steroids may inject 300 to 1,000 milligrams or more. This can cause male users' testes to shrink because the body responds by producing less testosterone. In females, the added testosterone can cause typically male features, such as excessive body hair and a deep voice, to develop.

* Since National Football League players began undergoing random drug testing in 1989, 111 players have tested positive for steroids. Of those, 54 served a four-game suspension, and 57 retired immediately. Two players who tested positive a second time retired from the sport rather than serving a six-game penalty.

* Major League Baseball instituted its drug testing policy in 2003. That season, 115 players tested positive. In 2004, 12 Major League players failed drug tests.

Doing More

This year, California created regulations aimed at reducing teen steroid use. Under the state rules, parents, players, and school officials have to sign contracts promising that teen athletes won't use steroids. States including Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Texas are considering similar laws.

Tell students about California's program. Discuss as a class: What can states, towns, and schools each do to limit teen steroid use? Should drug testing be mandatory for teen athletes? Why or why not?

Link It

* National Institute on Drug Abuse: oids.html

* Teens Health:

Send your answer, postmarked by September 23, to Quest, 200 First Stamford Place, P.O. Box 120023, Stamford, CT 06912-0023. Be sure to include your name, school name, and address. Good luck!

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