Placebo doping

May 3, 2010
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Studies have (apparently) shown the effectiveness of placebos. Give someone a red syrup and tell them it is medicine and they feel better, give someone a sugar coated pill and they feel even better, give someone a saline injection and they report feeling even better.

Now the question is this - has anyone tried to dope riders without actually giving them banned substances - for example tell them that they were getting something really powerful but in fact it was nothing other than a gel, or a saline injection.

What struck me was that Bonds etc said he thought that he was just getting 'flackseed oil' - what would have happened if Conte had told him that he was HGH but was actually getting flackseed oil?

What role does psychology play upon the chemical reactions of the body? For example, if you thought that you were getting a shot of HGH and testosterone but weren't what would happen to the body in terms of T:E ratios etc? Could the body be fooled into thinking that it was being doped when it wasn't?

If the body can be fooled into thinking it has been doped when it hasn't, would the body still be able to produce a dope test that came up positive, or would the fact that it had had nothing more than a saline injection mean you'd always **** clear?
 
I've actually been wondering this myself for the longest time.

Imagine: Some guy decides to start doping. He then contacts some shady guy, but said guy turns out to actually dislike doping, and instead provides the rider with some random product that doesn't really do anything!
The rider then goes on the win several races, very likely fueled by what he thinks is some sort of PED, but it's really just his confidence that has been improved.
After a while of this he suddenly realizes that this isn't the way I wanna win! He contacts the anti-doping people and comes clean, only to have them stare oddly at him at tell him that he never had any positive tests.

Should this guy be punished? He definitely had the intention of doping.
 
Aug 13, 2010
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Does Willy Voet write about doing that very thing in Breaking the Chain. He gives Richard Virenque an injection of vitamins (?) but leads him to believe it is a PED. Virenque goes on to perform much better then normal.
 
RedheadDane said:
After a while of this he suddenly realizes that this isn't the way I wanna win! He contacts the anti-doping people and comes clean, only to have them stare oddly at him at tell him that he never had any positive tests.

Should this guy be punished? He definitely had the intention of doping.
The fact that his tests werent positive wouldnt mean anything.

but in interviews they might figure out that he only got placebos.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Wasn't it implied that Paco Mancebo was a test subject in that style for Fuentes?
No, that was a BS piece by Carlos Arribas. He claimed Mancebo's hematocrit was naturally high, so he couldn't benefit as much as others from the blood doping. He quoted one of those drug lords saying they practically gave him placebos, but that's nonsense: getting a transfusion and preventing your hematocrit from dropping during a GT is very much not a placebo.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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It's even more effective if you actually do administer the real McCoy first - ie EPO, what have you, tell them it is, let them see the result, belief is now struck.

Then administer placebos.

The example I have heard is cancer medication (tablet form) with a strawberry smell that was replaced with placebos with the same smell. Smell being a powerful memory trigger.

I believe it could have an effect, but less than the full doping effect possible.
 
Mrs John Murphy said:
Now the question is this - has anyone tried to dope riders without actually giving them banned substances - for example tell them that they were getting something really powerful but in fact it was nothing other than a gel, or a saline injection.
A very long time ago, hell, Che Guevara still had a few months to live, I entered a stage race in Northern Argentina. It was a very nice experience, except I narrowly escaped death after the 5th stage, but that's another story.

Anyway, I was being pestered by a racer and his followers who, because I was European, obviously assumed that I was one step ahead of Argentinians in terms of chemical help :mad:

I got a little bit fed up with it and in the end I decided to give them something : I had a few vitamins with me and among them one type that was particularly impressive by its size , it was a really big vitamin C pill, so I went for that one.

I gave it to the guy with all kinds of instructions to make it more believable that it was dynamite.

Well, guess what happened, that guy won the final stage, a bunch sprint, in his hometown!

The next day I was invited in the family's home for lunch, together with at least 15 other members of the family!!! It was so embarrassing for me, but I couldn't really refuse.

There is more yet to the story, but I want to keep it short and to the point raised in this topic.

I also have another example, more impressive to me because I witnessed it first hand as the perpetrator, but it might be less convincing for an outsider.
 
Le breton said:
A very long time ago, hell, Che Guevara still had a few months to live, I entered a stage race in Northern Argentina. It was a very nice experience, except I narrowly escaped death after the 5th stage, but that's another story.

Anyway, I was being pestered by a racer and his followers who, because I was European, obviously assumed that I was one step ahead of Argentinians in terms of chemical help :mad:

I got a little bit fed up with it and in the end I decided to give them something : I had a few vitamins with me and among them one type that was particularly impressive by its size , it was a really big vitamin C pill, so I went for that one.

I gave it to the guy with all kinds of instructions to make it more believable that it was dynamite.

Well, guess what happened, that guy won the final stage, a bunch sprint, in his hometown!

The next day I was invited in the family's home for lunch, together with at least 15 other members of the family!!! It was so embarrassing for me, but I couldn't really refuse.

There is more yet to the story, but I want to keep it short and to the point raised in this topic.

I also have another example, more impressive to me because I witnessed it first hand as the perpetrator, but it might be less convincing for an outsider.
I would love to hear the rest of that story and also the other one:)
 
Jan 30, 2011
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The Hitch said:
I would love to hear the rest of that story and also the other one:)
Me too.

First hand anecdotes are always much more interesting than reading literature (which is still quite contentious on the whole issue of the placebo effect with what appears to be a relatively equal number of believers and debunkers).
 
Jan 30, 2011
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DirtyWorks said:
Funny thing a thread was started about placebo doping.

http://www.stanford.edu/~learnest/cyclops/capers.htm
The 84 Olympics doping by the US was only placebo amounts of blood re-infused with no chance of improvement in performance?

That was nice of them to consider the other nations like that and not really cheat.

Tested by a Mexican with a broken leg too.

Well written piece, but not too sure I believe the substance of it - even written in 1985 and close to the original events.
 
peterst6906 said:
Well written piece, but not too sure I believe the substance of it - even written in 1985 and close to the original events.
Les Earnest is reliable. He's been around the block with fraudsters running Olympic/UCI cycling since, well the 1980's and probably much earlier. So, all the Tailwind scammers have had run-ins with Les at some point before Wiesel bought USAC.

The dude needs a wordpress blog though. The straight HTML just isn't effective.
 
Jan 30, 2011
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DirtyWorks said:
Les Earnest is reliable. He's been around the block with fraudsters running Olympic/UCI cycling since, well the 1980's and probably much earlier. So, all the Tailwind scammers have had run-ins with Les at some point before Wiesel bought USAC.

The dude needs a wordpress blog though. The straight HTML just isn't effective.
Fair enough.
 
Sep 13, 2010
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I think therefore I am

I thought I doped therefore I did. Really?

Hogwash

Really mrs John? Nothing better to hypothesise on? Really?

I think this thread is rubbish. Therefore it is!!!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Placebo's are not going to change your chemical make up or alter it to test positive although I'm sure some pro rider who reads this thread then gets caught might use it as a last straw to try to get out of the positive test result.

A Placebo will change your mentality of what is happening to your body though, then again its also not going to change a sprinter into a climber or vice versa. The Argentinian example was most likely a good rider to begin with if that story is actually factual, and still doesn't address if that that rider was already doping on what ever was available to him no matter what he may of thought of the European rider's product availability.

Your mind can make your body do some pretty incredible things, but it will not allow you to fly no matter how much you dream of it and it will definitely not change your blood profile into a doper's profile by introducing a supposed placebo. Exchange the placebo for the actual dope and yes then the blood profile will be of the dope.

If you can believe the placebo can change the blood profile to that of a doper by taking a placebo then if that same rider was told to train hard and was without their knowledge given doping products he could change his blood profile to that of a non-doper. Yea, never going to happen, but again I'm sure some rider testing positive will want to use this bogus theory.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Zam_Olyas said:
I don't know about performance enhancing drugs but i certainly saw a guy go high on chalk and sugar water thinking it was prescription drugs. :D
Yes, sugar will give one a high but a short lived one, why do you think kids and many adults are still hooked on it, the XXXXL clothing is there for a reason ;)
 
Apr 3, 2011
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and let's not forget Dr. Lamborghini, a.k.a. His Holy Orange Juicess himself, maybe he also prescribed some placEPO to fool The Mighty Uniballer

Ferrari has been banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency after six former US Postal Service riders provided evidence concerning his doping practices. Part of their testimony included details of a method taking oral testosterone which involved using micro-doses diluted in olive oil, something which Ferrari says “could not have more than a placebo effect.”


http://m.cyclingnews.com/news/ferrari-armstrong-could-have-reached-the-same-level-without-doping#next
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Placebo debunker? : if you're shooting blanks, she ain't gonna get pregnant, no matter how real it feels / smells / looks.
 
May 3, 2010
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Does anyone know if anyone has done any formal research into placebo doping? I know someone who has done work on pain and placebos but not placebos in a doping context.

I'm surprised (or not that it hasn't been publicised) that none of the various Institutes for Sport haven't tried it.

Le Breton - I'd love to hear more stories.
 
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