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August 10, 2006

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SteveMG

Andrew Sullivan wrote an interesting albeit overly long piece a few years ago on how synthetic testosterone injections affected his body (Link).

What struck me about the piece was that Sullivan notes that "within hours" of his injection he felt a deep surge of energy, a surge that lasted for several days. My previous understanding was that the hormone had longer term benefits and not short term ones. Wrong.

SMG

J. Peden [Joe P.]

What, read the sports page? I mainly wonder if Natasha Singer ever went to school or has yet noticed the difference between men and women.

JJ

There's a fairly good round-up of information on doping in the Wikipedia entry on Lance Armstrong and the entry on Floyd Landis.

They include Armstrong's run-in with the lab that said he was positive for EPO in 1999 that resulted in an independent investigation of the lab.

Some doctors have said testosterone does have a quick boosting effect. It looks like others say that it does not.

The temptation is too strong for there not to be drug cheating in endurance sports. So there will be cheaters.

However, the fiasco that is due process, especially with cycling, has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with testing procedures.

In Landis' case, he has hypothyroidism, a condition that also may have tilted the tests.

So what is the normal sports body, especially if you have, for example, survived cancer, need some drugs for basic health, and still continue to race?

Maybe the problem could be solved by letting every athlete hand out souvenir urine samples for testing at "your favorite drug-testing lab."


cathyf

An interesting question is just how strong the placebo effect is. So the coach convinces the player that he has this fantastic steroid, and this brilliant way to mask it and they will never be caught. The reason that they will never get caught is that the "steroid injections" are normal saline, while the "masking drug" is sugar pills.

So would merely convincing the player that he is being doped be considered illegal doping?

cathy :-)

Legaleze

Why don't the sports conglomerates just agree that there is drug use and have the users admit it. Allow drug use in sports, but have the users tested such as they would in any drug trials. Here you have a large group who, even when it's against the rules or law, use these substances. Why not allow it and have them declare they're using, and test it so that it may benefit a large population in the future?

SteveMG

Why don't the sports conglomerates just agree that there is drug use and have the users admit it.

Well, let's wing it:

In many cases the use of some of these drugs is illegal. Unless we find doctors willing to prescribe the drugs for non-medical reasons.

Still would have to change the law.

And then we have the issue of harm to the athletes. Even with informed-consent, what would the liabilities be for the sports (or the doctors, teams, et cetera) if the athlete later suffers long-term and severe illnesses due to his use of the drugs?

Then we have the issue of "designer drugs" or new mixes of substances that no ones what harm a user will suffer.

What about teams' pressuring players to use drugs? Would players who openly use some drugs get not only an on-the-field benefit but also off-the-field ones as well. $$$$

A Pandora's pill box best kept closed.

SMG

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