Human Limits

Exploring performance and health with Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Photo of Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

EPO: What’s next in doping

As noted in the first link below, Frank Schleck “withdrew” from the Tour de France after a positive test for a banned diuretic.  Diuretics have been used as “masking” substances to help beat routine testing for performance enhancing drugs.  They work by increasing urine output and can help “flush” banned substances out of the body or make the concentrations in the urine more dilute and less detectable.  Diuretics themselves would not improve performance.

In chatting with my colleague Dr. Alejandro Lucia from Spain, a leading expert on the physiology of cycling, current rumors suggest that a new class of experimental drugs that increase production of EPO are the next big thing in the peloton.  I am attaching links to a Washington Post article on the Schleck incident, a scientific paper on the new class of drugs that boost EPO production, and a paper by Dr. Lucia on the physiology of the Tour.

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