A new, more effective test for human-growth hormone, a performance enhancing drug believed to be widely used in professional sports, could be ready in time for the London Olympic Games after winning approval this weekend from anti-doping officials. Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, told the Associated Press today in London that results from some 30 scientific studies indicate that the new test can identify biomarkers associated with HGH use up to three weeks after injection. The current test for HGH can only detect the substance for two to three days while it remains in the the human body. "The consensus ... is that this test is a well-validated, scientifically reliable test which extends the window of detection and would also be important to implement," Tygart said. Human growth hormone increases muscle mass and strength, although it is likely less effective than scientists once imagined. Since the original screen was introduced in 2004, only eight athletes have tested positive, most recently gold-medal-winning cross-country skier Andrus Veerpalu of Estonia. Scientists from the World Anti-Doping Agency have yet to approve the test.
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