Show me the paper

Monday, January 7, 2008

He said, he said.
Brian McNamee. Roger Clemens.
HGH injections. Vitamin B12 shots and lidocaine.

B12 is used to treat a vitamin deficiency in the blood which causes a macrocytic anemia , a low r9ed blood count with larger than normal red blood cells.

Normal red blood cells are biconcave discs; they look like a marshmallow that is squished in the middle. B12 is one of the building blocks of the cell wall and if there isn’t enough, the shapes of the cell change. There is less surface area in a sphere than a squished marshmallow, so the cells appear larger under a microscope.

Anemias can classified by the size of the red blood cells. Iron deficiency doesn’t allow the bone marrow to make enough hemoglobin to fill the cells, so they end up smaller. Low iron tends to be due to bleeding and poor diet. The larger red cells are caused by lack of B12 or folic acid.

B12 occurs naturally in many foods like fish, poultry, milk and eggs. As well, it is a common additive to foods like fortified cereals and bread. In the stomach, a chemical intrinsic factor binds to B12 and travels with it to the last part of the small intestine where it is absorbed into the blood stream.

Pernicious anemia occurs when the stomach doesn’t produce intrinsic factor or if the intestine can’t absorb Vitamin B12. Then it needs to be injected into muscle to be absorbed into the body. Aside from the anemia, lack of B12 can cause nerve endings to function poorly leading to numbness of hands and feet, loss of balance and sometimes issues with bowel and bladder control.

There isn’t another other indication for injecting Vitamin B12. In patients with dietary deficiencies, it can be given by mouth and is a common part of multi-vitamin pills.

Lidocaine is a commonly used local anesthetic used to numb tissue. It is often used by dentists to work in the mouth and doctors to suture lacerations. It can be injected locally into joints or into muscles and tissue to help alleviate pain, but its effects tend to be short lasting.

So the two drugs that Mr. Clemens talked about in his interviews on CBS are legal, non addictive, not performance enhancing and have significant benefits in medicine. He also mentioned that he received Toradol an injectable non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, similar to ibuprofen but given by injection, again a reasonable medication to use.

It would seem that Mr. Clemens and his trainer, Brain McNamee, are at odds as to the truth, but it should be an easy argument to resolve. B12 injections, lidocaine and toradol are usually dispensed with a doctor’s prescription. The proof should be in the paperwork

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