Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Blood Doping

I've been following this story for a while. Tyler Hamilton is an acclaimed professional cyclist. In the 2004 Olympics he tested positive for blood doping, which is a blood transfusion procedure. Athletes would have foreign blood injected into their blood steram to increases the red blood cell count, resulting in more oxygen to the body, and thus the performance is enhanced. It doesn't enhance his speed, but gives him more endurance.


Anyway this week the North American Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Hamilton is guilty of doping. As a result, he's suspended for two years and will be stripped of his titles since he tested positive, including his Olympic gold medal.

The testing standard requires cyclists to have red blood cells make up 50% of their blood as a maximum. When hamilton was tested, his red blood cell percentage was 49.7%. Even though it's still within the limit, he tested 38% on previous occasions, and that raised some eyebrows. They tested him again and confirmed that there was foreign blood in his blood stream.

Now here is where it gets interesting. In his defense, Hamilton claimes to have acquired the foreign blood by "Vanishing Twin Syndrome." He says he had a mysterious unborn twin that didn't develop in his mother's womb and the twin's cells were transferred to Hamilton's body. Ridiculous? .. Not really. It's biologically possible as 8% of all pregnancies start as multiple fetuses. However, in many cases only one fetus makes it.

Now what's Hamilton's best defense? If he did blood doping, then the red blood cell percentage would fluctuate up and down. My guess would be to keep testing every now and then to prove that his percentage is always near 50% naturally. However, for some reason, Hamilton is refusing to do so. Now that is Ridiculous!

Here are a couple of links:

http://www.supercycling.co.za/
http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/7887.0.html

5 comments:

Bloo said...

do people do that.. when there are actually children in need of blood transfusion jandeef

Jandeef said...

Oh look who's here =)

Yea I guess fame and money are more rewarding in this time.

Good to see your name again :)

Sloth said...

I must admit .. it takes courage to allow someone to tamper with the homeostasis of the body..

I mean increasing the red blood cell count is not a risk free procedure..

the person might end up forming a blood clot that if it was large enough would dislodge at a main artery and then bye bye !
The rate of survival if no treatment (in this case if it wasn't reversed) is about 10 years..
I'm sure however the Doctors who preformed it know exactly what they were doing.. so good luck and Jandeef.. please don't take any ideas !

Jelly Belly said...

Wow I never knew that before...it just shows you to what extent people are willing to go to in order to win!

Jandeef said...

Sloth,

The guy is a pro athlete. I'm sure he can afford the best doctors and best labs. But I wouldn't go this far. Lance Armstrong battled cancer and won 6 Tour De France in a raw!
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JB,

If you're a winner and have a winner's mind and heart, then you know that this is not a "win." .. The correct phrase is Fame and Money.