Muscle memoryA recent study led by Norwegian Kristian Gundersen published http://www.mn.uio.no/ibv/english/research/news-and-events/news/2013/kortvarig-dopingbruk-kan-ha-permanente-effekter.html, has shined new light on that elusive concept long known to bodybuilders as muscle memory. The study has the potential to change how anti-doping agencies approach bans on caught offenders.

The study conducted on rats experimented with use of anabolic steroids on and muscle retention. Particularly the scientists wanted to test the long held thesis among bodybuilders that muscle has a sort of memory, which means that if you have at one point had significant muscle mass, then it is significiantly easier to rebuild that muscle mas safter not working out for a long time, than it otherwise would be. This well known fact has been known as muscle memory.

Until recently, science couldn’t explain the phenomenon and many believed that muscle memory was a placebo effect or similar. The new study however found that the rats which were given testosterone developed new muscle nuclues that did not atrophy completely, but instead lingered for a very long time, ready to grow and to be activated. This means that strength training and testosterone building activities create lasting muscular changes which can last for a lifetime.

That obviously changes how w eshould approach doping, if even one dose of testosterone might give a lifetime benefit of increased muscle mass. In such a situation it would only be prudent to make the ban follow the benefit. Of course, doing so requires more testing as the study has so far only been done on rats. If Gundersen manages to get funding for that study it might also change doctor’s recommendations on when a person should be lifting wait, beginning earlier being better and that doing so will allow someone to be stronger in older age.