Anabolic steroids are derivatives of the hormone testosterone. Scientists at the University of Chicago isolated testosterone in 1927 from bull testicles, and by 1935, Yugoslavian researchers had discovered how to produce synthetic testosterone. Many physicians in the 1930s promoted the use of synthetic testosterone to restore youth in older men and reinvigorate the body. Today, physicians prescribe steroids to stimulate muscle growth, bone development, and appetite, particularly among patients suffering from cancer and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Doctors also prescribe steroids to stimulate male sex characteristics and puberty in boys. Steroid use is also common among healthy men and women for cosmetic purposes to build muscles or decrease body fat. However, in addition to producing anabolic effects, prolonged high doses of testosterone produce unwanted androgenic ...

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