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Green Templeton College | Oxford

testosterone

 

Stéphane Bermon is a specialist in Sports Medicine who also holds a PhD in Exercise Physiology. He works both at the Monaco Institute of Sports Medicine and Surgery and at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Health and Science Department. He was appointed, last year, as a Visiting Common Room Member at Green Templeton College.

One of Dr Bermon’s main research topic is about testosterone and athletic performance, especially in women. He recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine an article entitled 'Serum androgen levels and their relation to performance in track and field: mass spectrometry results from 2127 observations in male and female elite athletes'. This article is one of the first since the reports from the former East Germany state doping program to study the influence of androgens level on athletic performance in a large sample of elite male and female athletes. The method used to measure androgens here is mass spectrometry which is the gold standard for these kind of measurements.

The results from this study shows that 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, pole vault, and hammer throw female athletes with the highest serum free testosterone level enjoy a 2 to 4.5% performance advantage when compared with elite females with the lowest free testoterone levels. Such a pattern was not found in any of the male events. Moreover, this study showed that male throwers showed significantly lower serum testosterone level which could be attributed either to abuse of anabolic steroids or to a larger fat mass, both known to decrease testosterone and SHBG concentration. The advantage enjoyed by female athletes with high level of androgens, which is quantified in this study, is a key finding in the actual discussion on eligibility of hyperandrogenic female athletes to compete in women’s competitions.

Dr Bermon already gave two lectures at GTC on the topic of androgens and sports and hopes that these new findings could encourage students or academics to enter in this field of applied research.

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