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Long term positive effects of doping.

I just read an article about a norwegianstudy that concludes that doping with anabolic steroids has life long benefits to muscle cells even after the doping was stopped.

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http://www.vg.no/sport/artikkel.php?artid=10035822&sl=no&tl=en&act=url

This would be an argument in favor of life long bans for steroid doping since you will always have an unfair advantage over everyone else even after you go clean.

The question I'm left with is whether there are similar benefitial effects to other types of doping long after the doping is ended? I remember hearing from some sports doctors that were interviewed back in the early 2000s that people who dope will have benefits long after their suspensions are over. I don't remember if they meant that they had physiological benefits from the doping itself or if they simply have the benefit of having been able to train and compete at an artificially high level which would give them better life long physiology than if they had been clean all their life.

What do you think? Are there life long positive effects from the doping seen in cycling and should such effects be factored into whether bans should be longer or possibly life long?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I have often wondered the same thing.

Riding multiple grand tours with a functional threshold that is enhanced by 10-15% over several years? That has to have some sort of effect on your "clean" natural ceiling, right?
 
Jun 12, 2010
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I had this argument put to me some years ago by a top uk rider:
The demands on a pro riders body benifit from the theraputic value of some doping practices.
Example , your strugling to breath on a very hot day involving some big climbs and cold descents.
A steroid based drug may help , your not using it to contend for gc..your using it to get up the climbs with the bunch and not be outside the time limit, the steroid helps you breath but doesnt increase your VO2 max, as a result you struggle less, arent on your knees at the end and therefore in better health the next day.
On the face of it I felt he had a point. I also think thats what a lot of doping used to be about, helping a rider perform at there physiological max but not beyond ...which is where EPO / transfusions kick in.
Not seeking to justify doping here, just adding a slant thats often overlooked and definatly the view of many pro riders...especialy pre the early 80`s
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Sounds vaguely plausible. Although for EPO, I've also wondered if the opposite might be true, and prolonged use might lead to diminishing performance returns. This article talks about one mechanism but it seems to be very rare.....although who knows what a standard "sport dose" is compared with a therapeutic dose.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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quick thoughts...

indeed an interesting idea but pls notice the article mentioned 'strength training at a young age'. we need to see the original study not just the article but this leads me to suspect that the study was dealing with strength sports as opposed to endurance sports whilst road racing is certainly an endurance sport. so it remains to be seen, explained and confirmed if the one study applies to road cycling.

second, i do recall seeing a study where the conclusion was that if anabolic steroid were fed to immature juniors whose bodies were still growing and developing, it would lead to life-long benefits of superior performances in endurance sports. the rationale was that the heart being a muscle would enlarge from the use of steroids carrying over the benefits of increased blood supply onto superior life-long vo2 max.
 
python said:
quick thoughts...

indeed an interesting idea but pls notice the article mentioned 'strength training at a young age'. we need to see the original study not just the article but this leads me to suspect that the study was dealing with strength sports as opposed to endurance sports whilst road racing is certainly an endurance sport. so it remains to be seen, explained and confirmed if the one study applies to road cycling.
Yes, the article itself is not directly applicable on pro cycling but rather on strength based sports like weight lifting or perhaps even something like sprinting.

The article was simply what made me think about long term effects of other types of doping that would be relevant to cycling but that would have to be studied separately.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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ingsve said:
Yes, the article itself is not directly applicable on pro cycling but rather on strength based sports like weight lifting or perhaps even something like sprinting.

The article was simply what made me think about long term effects of other types of doping that would be relevant to cycling but that would have to be studied separately.
several years ago during a conference intermission i asked one famous oncologist if administering epo to a recovering cancer survivor can provide athletic benefits for the rest of the person’s life ?

i was firmly told ’i don’t think so’. the same opinion was voiced by my in-laws, both haematologists.

take it for what it’s worth.
 
Aug 17, 2009
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I think the doping can help lifelong because your body can train at a higher level. Thus if you continue to train at high level brain and mind remember the high level training.
I have heard criticism here on riders who do not race to many races and then pop up with fantastic results. I do not necessarily attribute that to dope although it could be dope. It could be body memory of attainment of high level.
If you have acheived high level doped or undoped your mind and body remembers the level and with proper training, zone can be acheived, if everything goes right.
An example to me is Jack Lalane, excercize fanatic extrodinaire age 95. Peak health always.
 
Jun 22, 2010
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I am assuming that this study was done on cells in culture, which is interesting but be very careful before assuming that this has any relevance to effects in the body;there are thousands of studies in the literature done in vitro (in the lab) with no effects or even the exact opposite effects when done on humans in well controlled trials. So view this study with a great deal of scepticism until someone does a 5-10 year study in humans.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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as for muscle tissue i can say that after you work out seriously at a young age with supplements etc.. that you permanently change your physic and are permanently much stronger and have better muscle to fat ratio. this has been my experience its a permanent physiological change at least regarding muscle.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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i got into cycling and starved myself ate once a day at some times of the year real good diet nonetheless muscle mass does not want to go i get real lean and then very tired but genetically i cannot get below 5-8 155 or so at %5 body fat. other riders have the opposite problem they have no muscle and cannot gain any i think a lot of it is simply genetics. i work at a bike shop and customers ask if im a boxer or wrestler most the time its annoying. i feel this is all a product of body building ten+ years ago.
 
Orinda8 said:
I am assuming that this study was done on cells in culture, which is interesting but be very careful before assuming that this has any relevance to effects in the body;there are thousands of studies in the literature done in vitro (in the lab) with no effects or even the exact opposite effects when done on humans in well controlled trials. So view this study with a great deal of scepticism until someone does a 5-10 year study in humans.
It seems by looking at the abstract that the study used human cell samples from power lifters.
 
Orinda8 said:
I am assuming that this study was done on cells in culture, which is interesting but be very careful before assuming that this has any relevance to effects in the body;there are thousands of studies in the literature done in vitro (in the lab) with no effects or even the exact opposite effects when done on humans in well controlled trials. So view this study with a great deal of scepticism until someone does a 5-10 year study in humans.
The study was done using in vivo imaging techniques so that perticular objection isn't relevant in this case.
 
Oct 23, 2009
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I have to take all most all hormones due to my Pan-Hypopituitarism (many TBIs), to include testosterone. The last two years I have been off my bike for 3 to 6 months at a time for very reasons (sick/injured). I have notice that it take me less than a month to get back in shape where I can keep my own in a pace line, climb my normal speed, and do long brevets. I keep my testosterone level in the normal range for a 20 year old, but I am in my mid 50s.
I do think that the reason I can recover so fast is because I have maintain the same level of testosterone for the past 10 years. Prior to taking the testosterone, I could not recover as fast after a hard ride or during breaks in my riding as I do now. I do not think that ridings who once did take testosterone/EPO have any advantage over riding who did not take them. Once you stop taking the normones you lose the effect they were giving you.
 
python said:
several years ago during a conference intermission i asked one famous oncologist if administering epo to a recovering cancer survivor can provide athletic benefits for the rest of the person’s life ?

i was firmly told ’i don’t think so’. the same opinion was voiced by my in-laws, both haematologists.

take it for what it’s worth.
Very unlikely to provide direct benefits. When you stop taking EPO, you lose the stimulus of red blood cell synthesis. However, having more red blood cells than normal for a while means more oxygen transport to tissues, and this may upregulate enzymes involved in metabolism, so that your muscles are more efficient in extracting energy. This is pure speculation on my part, but is consistent with known metabolic effects under other conditions.

I have long been surprised that so little is really known about the immediate, short-term effects of doping, let alone possible long-term effects. E.g., just how much benefit in say, power increase over a particular period of time, does a cyclist get raising hematocrit by a defined amount? No one knows. There are estimates, of course, but the lack of more precise knowledge is one of the difficulties in determining if someone is doping. We all speculate that VAMs or TT times of certain riders are likely indicative of doping, but lack the hard data that could make these judgments more certain.
 
I found it very interesting that Floyd, FWIW, felt that the benefits of doping were exaggerated. He didn't deny that it helped, but he seemed to think it didn't result in as much improvement as is commonly imagined. I would love to see some studies of this effect. It's always been argued that no elite rider is going to intentionally and publicly dope, since he would be suspended. But what about riders who are caught doping and suspended? Why not offer them a deal, maybe a slightly shorter suspension in return for continuing to follow their doping program, making all methods available to scientists, and making thorough measurements on physiology that could be compared with those when the rider wasn't doping.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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forty four said:
as for muscle tissue i can say that after you work out seriously at a young age with supplements etc.. that you permanently change your physic and are permanently much stronger and have better muscle to fat ratio. this has been my experience its a permanent physiological change at least regarding muscle.
Well, it did not seem to help all the jocks I knew during junior high and high school. They are all fat ba5tards now.
 
May 23, 2010
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I don't think it would be unlike remembering when you were younger.. If you took someone who could barely climb a hill then doped them to the gills where they could do it easily 100 times then undoped them,,,,the memory of failure or pain would be distant.

On another note.. It has to be hard on the dopers to not dope..not doping would be like having every day be a bad day.
 
May 13, 2009
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Merckx index said:
I found it very interesting that Floyd, FWIW, felt that the benefits of doping were exaggerated. He didn't deny that it helped, but he seemed to think it didn't result in as much improvement as is commonly imagined. I would love to see some studies of this effect. It's always been argued that no elite rider is going to intentionally and publicly dope, since he would be suspended. But what about riders who are caught doping and suspended? Why not offer them a deal, maybe a slightly shorter suspension in return for continuing to follow their doping program, making all methods available to scientists, and making thorough measurements on physiology that could be compared with those when the rider wasn't doping.
Such a study concept would never pass any ethics review. It's not going to happen. Sorry.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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I Watch Cycling In July said:
Sounds vaguely plausible. Although for EPO, I've also wondered if the opposite might be true, and prolonged use might lead to diminishing performance returns. This article talks about one mechanism but it seems to be very rare.....although who knows what a standard "sport dose" is compared with a therapeutic dose.
From what I've heard the repression of natural EPO production by the synthetic version gradually returns to normal after quitting the PED. Don't recall any of the forum posters ever mentioning a longer term benefit.

Another point to throw in: how much mileage is added to the liver, kidneys and other organs that are required to process the increased demands placed on them. I don't think they are also beneficiaries of a long term effect and may actually age faster. Is that right?
 
Jun 22, 2010
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Cobblestones said:
Such a study concept would never pass any ethics review. It's not going to happen. Sorry.
Actually studies could be done, but the problem is that they are very expensive (tens of millions of dollars) to do correctly which is why no drug company is going to do them for drugs that are already on the market, and which would be banned if found to be effective. One recent small study of testosterone in middle-aged to elderly men showed little benefit clinically, confirming Floyd's statements;indeed I am unaware of any convincing study showing benefit of supplements or doping in athletes (except for a small study of creatine in sprinters showing some benefit in the shortest sprints). The study in question in this thread done in mice is interesting but note that the authors do refer to a contradictory study by other investigators; and none of this answers the question of what happens in a doped athlete vs a clean athlete. The study CAN be done, but only Lance has the money to fund such a study but now he needs the money for his future problems. Alright Alberto, pony up the funds!
 
Aug 17, 2009
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Fran36 said:
I firmly believe there's a link between disease and drug abuse. That disease could even be cancer. This is one of the reasons I made this facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Petition-To-Investigate-Lance-Armstrong-For-Fraud/140402872662162 Please come join my group if you support my ideas. I have no problems if my tax money goes towards investigating sporting crooks. -fran
Depends on the DNA. Look at these examples.
Keith Richards alive and smiling
Neil Young not so healthy
Warran Zevon dead died of cancer
David Bowie wealthy healthy married to a beautiful woman
Fignon dying of cancer
Eric Clapton running on all cylinders
Lance Armstrong fifth child on way TdF 3rd last year, second in tour de suisse
 

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