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Old 12-04-04, 04:36 PM   #1
bikershark
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Blood Doping Question

After hearing so much about blood doping in the Tour de France, I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge of what exactly blood doping is, how it is done, and how those athletes went about doing it?
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Old 12-04-04, 05:35 PM   #2
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Wily Voet has a pretty good book on it, from what I understand.
Good luck finding it. I think Barnes and Noble had a copy or two in their old books section, but that was a few weeks ago.

Cole
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Old 12-04-04, 06:03 PM   #3
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A drug called EPO has been used by some cyclists. It increases, as I understand it, the number of red blood cells and thus the oxygen-carrying capacity of of the cardiovascular system. The downside, besides being illegal, is that it is very dangerous. It requires the constant monitoring of a doctor and must be used in conjunction with a blood thinner to prevent ischemic events such as stroke or heart attack.
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Old 12-04-04, 07:00 PM   #4
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An extremely illuminating article:

http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/7039.0.html
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Old 12-05-04, 02:37 AM   #5
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"Blood doping" traditionally refers to an athelete donating blood. Then before an event the athelete receives a trasfusion of their own blood. The idea here is this gives them more red blood cells.

So why are having the red blood cells a good thing? Aerobic atheletic performance is generally limited by the amount of oxygen that the muscles get. The more red blood cells in the blood, the more oxygen delivered to the muscles.

Another method can be used. Quite some time ago Amgen developed a drug called Epogen that stimulates the body to produce red blood cells. The drug mimics the natural human hormone, erythropoitin, which stimulates red blood cell production. Amgen did not develop the drug to give atheletes an illegal performance boost. They developed it as a treatment for anemia which is often a side effect of chemotherapy that cancer patients get.

Epogen can be quite dangerous for cyclists to use. Think of the blood. Most of it is made up of red blood cells (think little balloons) and plasma (think dilute salt water). The heart is the pump and the veins and arteries are the pipes. So taking EPO will increase the concentration of red blood cells in the blood and increase the amount of oxygen a given amount of blood can carry. The problem comes when the cyclist sweats and gets a little dehydrated. That means the cyclist will have less plasma in the blood. It is quite easy using EPO (epogen) to have so many red blood cells in the blood that there is just enough plasma in the blood to keep the blood a fluid. The cyclist sweats and the blood turns from a fluid to just a sort of gel and the heart can not pump a gel. The cyclist dies of a massive cardiopulmonary failure. Interestingly enough, around a score of professional cyclists are thought to have perished this way.
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Old 12-05-04, 10:24 AM   #6
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What about anaerobic activities? Would blood doping aid in those cases as well, such as maximum strength ouput, etc., by giving you more oxygen available in the blood?
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Old 12-05-04, 11:47 AM   #7
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yes, but like Pat said, its dangerous.
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Old 12-05-04, 05:12 PM   #8
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I'm sure you guys know that but just to make sure: EPO or erythropoietin, isn't only a synthetic drug but also a natural hormone that our bodies can produce (in kidneys), under certain circumstances... I.e., if you go to altitude, the presence of this hormone in blood causes the bone marrow to start producing more red blood cells, and help you acclimatize... So any time, you find yourself on some of those high passes in Colorado, you'll become an "EPO factory"...
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Old 12-05-04, 08:27 PM   #9
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The heart is the pump and the veins and arteries are the pipes. So taking EPO will increase the concentration of red blood cells in the blood and increase the amount of oxygen a given amount of blood can carry. The problem comes when the cyclist sweats and gets a little dehydrated. That means the cyclist will have less plasma in the blood. It is quite easy using EPO (epogen) to have so many red blood cells in the blood that there is just enough plasma in the blood to keep the blood a fluid. The cyclist sweats and the blood turns from a fluid to just a sort of gel and the heart can not pump a gel. The cyclist dies of a massive cardiopulmonary failure. Interestingly enough, around a score of professional cyclists are thought to have perished this way.
To shed a little more light on this. The amount of sweat an individual needs to lose to significantly raise their Hct. is astronomical. The amount is such that an athlete wouldn't be able to perform to an acceptable level and would drop out versus having their blood sludge up and infarct while riding.

Elite cyclists have very low heart rates. Some have resting rates in the 20's BPM range. At elevated Hct. levels the blood becomes more viscous. At low heart rates the blood is moving so slow through the coronary arteries that micro clots form. These clots lead to ischemia (lack of oxygen) which in turn leads to an infarction (damaged tissue). Either of these events can lead to heart attack. Keep in mind that the UCI's cut off for Hct. is .50. normal lab range is as high as .52 depending on the reference used. Its a combination of low heart rates, increased viscosity and lower blood pressure while resting that cause elite cyclists to die. Have you noticed most die in their sleep?
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Old 12-05-04, 08:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat
Epogen can be quite dangerous for cyclists to use.
The other dangerous component is all the syringes, transfusions, etc., required for many of the performance enhancers. If all the "hardware" has to come from illegal sources, and all traces of usage have to remain hidden, you've got to wonder about the risk of dirty equipment. It'll probably be long after they're out of the limelight, but I wonder how many of these guys will ultimately be diagnosed with hepatitis C, if not something worse.
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Old 12-18-04, 01:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamijim
Keep in mind that the UCI's cut off for Hct. is .50. normal lab range is as high as .52 depending on the reference used. Its a combination of low heart rates, increased viscosity and lower blood pressure while resting that cause elite cyclists to die. Have you noticed most die in their sleep?
I've seen a fair number of people who had hematocrits higher than 50%, even in non-athletes at sea-level. If that's all the UCI is using as a test for EPO doping, then they're probably getting a fair number of false positives.
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Old 12-18-04, 09:04 AM   #12
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Sessamoid, I'm sure the UCI allows exemptions for cyclists who have established normal Hct's above .50. As you have, I to have seen many non-atheltes with Hct's above .50. The difference is these people have much higher resting heartrates and blood pressure. Higher heartrates and BP's mean the blood doesnt have have time to stagnate therefore micro-coaggulation doesnt occur.
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Old 12-18-04, 10:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by bikershark
What about anaerobic activities? Would blood doping aid in those cases as well, such as maximum strength ouput, etc., by giving you more oxygen available in the blood?
No, blood doping would not help these activities. They don't rely on oxygen in the blood. Thats what makes them anaerobic, instead of aerobic. And with the very high blood pressures reached in heavy lifting... EPO might well kill you.
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Old 12-18-04, 02:38 PM   #14
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EPO takes away the burn associated with lactic acid which is when your muscles go anerbic , spelling ? or without oxigen . So imagine doing situps and never going aneroboc ? do you think you coud do more ? would this help weight lifters ? hehe
peace
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Old 12-18-04, 02:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamijim
Sessamoid, I'm sure the UCI allows exemptions for cyclists who have established normal Hct's above .50. As you have, I to have seen many non-atheltes with Hct's above .50. The difference is these people have much higher resting heartrates and blood pressure. Higher heartrates and BP's mean the blood doesnt have have time to stagnate therefore micro-coaggulation doesnt occur.
I know Cunego (winner of 2004 Giro d'Italia) has a hematocrit level over .50, and he received an exception to race. Apparently, it's a genetic factor, and his father had the same type of hematocrit levels over .50. It does occur, and I believe I read of other riders who are genetically inclined to be over .50 with their hematocrit levels.

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Old 12-18-04, 06:33 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jarhead#42
EPO takes away the burn associated with lactic acid which is when your muscles go anerbic , spelling ? or without oxigen . So imagine doing situps and never going aneroboc ? do you think you coud do more ? would this help weight lifters ? hehe
peace
jar

How can you go anerobic doing situps? and again your 500 situps is a waste of time! get a ab board with a decline and throw some weights on your chest. save some time and your hip flexars and get stronger at the same time.lay on your back hold both legs about 5 inches off the floor, your stomach will burn in time. are you anerobic at that point? ofcourse not.
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Old 12-18-04, 08:03 PM   #17
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Hey
An open mind is a gift from above ! Thanks for the advice.. will modify my workout
jar
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