CLOSE

Signs your HGH injections might be fake

From Paul Byrd and Rick Ankiel to the upcoming Mitchell Report, accusations of HGH are flying around baseball. But Human Growth Hormone use is also on the rise outside of sports; plenty of people looking to get bigger are injecting themselves. So, let's say you want to bulk up, get taller, increase your focus or just feel younger. You've bought some HGH on the Internet or from a pharmacy (hint: stay away from BALCO). But, could it be fake? Here are some signs your HGH might be phony.

Your joints don't hurt

With all those new hormones being injected, you can't expect your body to just sit idly by. Among the side effects of HGH are joint pain, fluid retention and nerve pinching. There can also be unusual bone growth, potentially in the face. It's been linked to cancer, both in mice and humans, but a definitive tie hasn't been established.

You're not using a needle

Lots of sites, like this one, say they have HGH in oral or nasal form, either through a spray, tongue drop or pill. Trouble is, they're all bogus. There's no evidence that HGH can be received through any receptor not in the bloodstream. Not only that, the fragile molecules will break apart if diluted in a spray or pill. Some testify that using the spray makes them elated and more energetic, but that's something else talking, not the HGH.

It was approved by the FDA and you don't have Turner syndrome

byrd.jpgAny distributor can just say they've got FDA-approved HGH. But it's only true under a few conditions: you're a child with a growth defect, you have Turner syndrome, you have adult short bowel syndrome, you have a pituitary tumor or your muscles are deteriorating from AIDS. For a while, the FDA had only authorized HGH use for children, but in recent years they've expanded the allowances for adults with other conditions. Any other use of HGH is illegal, which is why all those sports stars are acting like kids trying to get out of high school gym and scrambling for a doctor's note (Paul Byrd, for example, is using a pituitary tumor as his excuse).

It's not putting you in debt

For HGH injections to work, you need to inject two or three times a day. Individual injections can cost as high as $25 each, which means just a week of injections can cost an arm and a leg (but don't worry, the rest of you will grow strong enough to make up for the missing limbs). The full bill can run around $2,000 a month. HGH scams will promise the same results for a much lower cost "“ some advertise as low as $35 a month.

You didn't get it out of Sylvester Stallone's suitcase

stallone.jpgOkay, this one isn't all that helpful. Odds are you didn't go rummaging through Sly's bag for your growth hormone. But if you had, you wouldn't have been disappointed, at least earlier this year. The "Rocky" star was caught importing 48 vials of HGH into Australia that month and pleaded guilty to the charges in May. He was first caught with the hormone during a routine airport check. Then three days later, customs officials caught him throwing four vials of growth testosterone from his hotel room when they came for a search. He apologized for being "ignorant to [the] official rules" and setting a bad example for the public, a fear ABC News was more than happy to explore. Sly's not the only celebrity who's been caught with HGH; there were traces of the hormone detected in Anna Nicole Smith's body during her autopsy.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Can You 'Hear' These Silent GIFs?
iStock
iStock

GIFs are silent—otherwise they wouldn't be GIFs. But some people claim to hear distinct noises accompanying certain clips. Check out the GIF below as an example: Do you hear a boom every time the structure hits the ground? If so, you may belong to the 20 to 30 percent of people who experience "visual-evoked auditory response," also known as vEAR.

Researchers from City University London recently published a paper online on the phenomenon in the journal Cortex, the British Psychological Society's Research Digest reports. For their study, they recruited more than 4000 volunteers and 126 paid participants and showed them 24 five-second video clips. Each clip lacked audio, but when asked how they rated the auditory sensation for each video on a scale of 0 to 5, 20 percent of the paid participants rated at least half the videos a 3 or more. The percentage was even higher for the volunteer group.

You can try out the researchers' survey yourself. It takes about 10 minutes.

The likelihood of visual-evoked auditory response, according to the researchers, directly relates to what the subject is looking at. "Some people hear what they see: Car indicator lights, flashing neon shop signs, and people's movements as they walk may all trigger an auditory sensation," they write in the study.

Images packed with meaning, like two cars colliding, are more likely to trigger the auditory illusion. But even more abstract images can produce the effect if they have high levels of something called "motion energy." Motion energy is what you see in the video above when the structure bounces and the camera shakes. It's why a video of a race car driving straight down a road might have less of an auditory impact than a clip of a flickering abstract pattern.

The researchers categorize vEAR as a type of synesthesia, a brain condition in which people's senses are combined. Those with synesthesia might "see" patterns when music plays or "taste" certain colors. Most synesthesia is rare, affecting just 4 percent of the population, but this new study suggests that "hearing motion synesthesia" is much more prevalent.

[h/t BPS Research Digest]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
language
The Surprising Link Between Language and Depression
iStock
iStock

Skim through the poems of Sylvia Plath, the lyrics of Kurt Cobain, or posts on an internet forum dedicated to depression, and you'll probably start to see some commonalities. That's because there's a particular way that people with clinical depression communicate, whether they're speaking or writing, and psychologists believe they now understand the link between the two.

According to a recent study published in Clinical Psychological Science, there are certain "markers" in a person's parlance that may point to symptoms of clinical depression. Researchers used automated text analysis methods to comb through large quantities of posts in 63 internet forums with more than 6400 members, searching for certain words and phrases. They also noted average sentence length, grammatical patterns, and other factors.

What researchers found was that a person's use (or overuse) of first-person pronouns can provide some insight into the state of their mental health. People with clinical depression tend to use more first-person singular pronouns, such as "I" and "me," and fewer third-person pronouns, like "they," "he," or "she." As Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Reading and the head of the study, writes in a post for IFL Science:

"This pattern of pronoun use suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with others. Researchers have reported that pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words."

What remains unclear, though, is whether people who are more focused on themselves tend to depression, or if depression turns a person's focus on themselves. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people with depression also use more negative descriptors, like "lonely" and "miserable."

But, Al-Mosaiwi notes, it's hardly the most important clue when using language to assess clinical depression. Far better indicators, he says, are the presence of "absolutist words" in a person's speech or writing, such as "always," "constantly," and "completely." When overused, they tend to indicate that someone has a "black-and-white view of the world," Al-Mosaiwi says. An analysis of posts on different internet forums found that absolutist words were 50 percent more prevalent on anxiety and depression forums, and 80 percent more prevalent on suicidal ideation forums.

Researchers hope these types of classifications, supported by computerized methods, will prove more and more beneficial in a clinical setting.

[h/t IFL Science]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios