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Questions on autoglas blood transfusions

May 6, 2009
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Since we have a few people who know a few things, just a few questions (and no I'm not looking at trying it):

1) If a cyclist (or any endurance athlete), were to use autoglas blood transfusions as a way of cheating, if they extract blood, is it effective if is injected (after being frozen) at a later date of just the riders blood that had been extracted, or is it laced with EPO,CERA, or insulin (for example), as in the only way it can work? How long can it last for, and how do they make the riders blood is laced (for want of a better word), with say EPO, is it something the rider had to take before the blood was extracted?

2) Is generally the riders blood extracted at the start of the season and then frozen and used at particular intervals, for example, said rider is targeting the Giro and the Vuelta, then the blood gets used before those two races, or is it generally extracted some time before the two races and then re-injected later on? What is generally the best time frame to do this? I remember a quote by Jesus Manzano when he was at Kelme and he said in a training camp before the Vuelta, several riders were taken to the local hospital to get blood extracted, the no-names (so to speak) didn't go.

3) Has blood transfusions been around since EPO first became more common in the peloton?

4) Can it improve performance in all areas? Is it going to make a sprinter be able to sprint quicker, or would that be a different program altogether? Or is it best for say a climber, but not a TT rider?

5) What are the associated health risks with autoglas blood transfusions? Not just with the doping itself, but with the extracting and re-injecting of blood? I would freak if I knew somebody else had been using the same centrifuge as me, and it would probably put me off from doing it, because otherwise how could I be certain it would be 100% clean? Also, post cycling career, what are the side effects, as say an increased chance of stroke or shortened life expectancy?

6) Is a pretty simple operation to run or is it a very sophisticated operation? I ask because remember Kohl's manager was behind it all back in Vienna.

Thanks in advance.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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craig1985 said:
1) If a cyclist (or any endurance athlete), were to use autoglas blood transfusions as a way of cheating, if they extract blood, is it effective if is injected (after being frozen) at a later date of just the riders blood that had been extracted, or is it laced with EPO,CERA, or insulin (for example), as in the only way it can work? How long can it last for, and how do they make the riders blood is laced (for want of a better word), with say EPO, is it something the rider had to take before the blood was extracted?

Autologous blood transfusion gives performance enhancement in it's own right, because it increases the amount of oxygen carrying red blood cells. It shouldn't be laced with EPO or CERA as this could lead to a positive test. EPO and CERA are used after a rider stores blood, to cause new red blood cells to quickly develop. It is also used in micro-doses to disguise autologous transfusion, which otherwise would suppress the production of new red blood cells (called reticulocytes). Can't remember how long it is effective for, but there should be an advantage for a number of weeks.

craig1985 said:
3) Has blood transfusions been around since EPO first became more common in the peloton?

EPO was the preferred method in the late 90s, when it couldn't be detected, because it is cheaper and easier that autologous transfusion. Now there are tests for EPO and CERA, it's assumed that riders are using autologous transfusions to achieve power outputs similar to the height of the EPO era.

craig1985 said:
4) Can it improve performance in all areas? Is it going to make a sprinter be able to sprint quicker, or would that be a different program altogether? Or is it best for say a climber, but not a TT rider?

It should be of more use to a climber or TTer, because it primarily gives an aerobic advantage. But, if it keeps you fresh and means you make it the then end of the stage to be able to contest it, it would be of use to sprinters too.

craig1985 said:
5) What are the associated health risks with autoglas blood transfusions? Not just with the doping itself, but with the extracting and re-injecting of blood? I would freak if I knew somebody else had been using the same centrifuge as me, and it would probably put me off from doing it, because otherwise how could I be certain it would be 100% clean? Also, post cycling career, what are the side effects, as say an increased chance of stroke or shortened life expectancy?

Poor storage techniques leading to dodgy blood being transfused is the big issue here I think. Some of the medical types also talked about risks due to free hemoglobin, whatever that is.

craig1985 said:
6) Is a pretty simple operation to run or is it a very sophisticated operation? I ask because remember Kohl's manager was behind it all back in Vienna.

Don't think it's simple. Requires quite a bit of equipment and careful storage at the right temperature, then IV paraphernalia to re infuse it.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Autologous blood transfusion gives performance enhancement in it's own right, because it increases the amount of oxygen carrying red blood cells. It shouldn't be laced with EPO or CERA as this could lead to a positive test. EPO and CERA are used after a rider stores blood, to cause new red blood cells to quickly develop. It is also used in micro-doses to disguise autologous transfusion, which otherwise would suppress the production of new red blood cells (called reticulocytes). Can't remember how long it is effective for, but there should be an advantage for a number of weeks.

I know that Thomas Dekker was microdosing with EPO diring the winter (probably) to enrich the blood he would be "draining" at that time to reinfuse it strategically during the season.

I assume that transfusing boosted blood is even better than normal blood.

I would also assume that transfusing small amounts of blood that has been boosted via microdosing of something that is tested for via urine is fairly safe as far as testing is concerned.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Blood is made up of two main componenets, the plasma and the formed elements. The formed elements include red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin and are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. They make up the majority of the formed elements. White blood cells are responsible for a number of functions, but are primarily important for immunity against bacterial and viral infection. Platelets are responsible for making the blood clot to form a scab in the event there is an injury. Plasma is mostly water with some free floating proteins and fats. Plasma is the 'broth' if blood were a 'soup'.

Hematocrit is a measure of the concentration of formed elements in the plasma. A higher hematocrit means there are more formed elements (mostly red blood cells) in the blood. More RBC's means more oxygen can be transported from the lungs to the muscles with each beat of the heart and each breath.

Blood cells wear out in a elatively short period (several days to several weeks depending on the type of cell and level of activity of the person) and are constantly being replaced with new, fresh cells. This process is known as hematopoeisis. Hematopeoisis of RBC's is stimulated by a naturally occuring hormone produced by the kidneys called erythropoeitin (EPO).

One of the effects of endurance training is an elevated level of natural EPO. This is one of the contributing factors for naturally derived increases in fitness.

When synthetic or derived EPO was invented, it did not take very long for endurance athletes to realize that they could inject themselves with this drug and achieve an elevated hamatocrit beyond what their body could attain through training alone. They were cheating by using pharmaceutical preparation.

Prior to the invention of synthetic EPO, endurance athletes would use autologous transfusions. An autologoous transfusion is when a person has some blood removed from their body and placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge seperates the plasma from the formed elements (the good stuff for performance). After a period of several weeks or months, the formed elements that were removed from the person are regenerated via hematopoeisis and their hematocrit returns to the levels they had prior to having some blood removed. Then, the re-introduce their own formed elements that had been stored in a fridge and instantly have a level of formed elements in their blood that surpasses what they could have achieved through training alone. In essence, they have 'super-blood'. The increases in performance are quite dramatic. This was classically referred to as 'blood doping'. Blood doping has been around since the 1970's.

Since there is no drug used in classic blood dooping, it can be difficult to detect. Measuring the hematocrit is an indicator, but not a difinitive test. Looking at the comparative ages of the cells in the blood is a more accurate means of detecting if an autologous transfusion has occured, but that process is lengthier and requires a lab with a higher level of sophistication.

One of the big risks of receiving an autologous transfusion is that there is an elevated platelet count in addition to an elevated RBC concentration. Since platelets are responsible for clotting of the blood, having an elevated platelet count increases the risk of stroke, thrombus formation, embolus, and myocardial infarction. These are risk factors that can result in death. Elevation of blood pressure is another risk factor.

The performance of any endurance athlete will improve in the presence of an elevated hematocrit. Climbers and TT specialists have the most to gain, but sprinters benefit, as well, since they will have fresher legs at the end of the race.

Transfusing boosted blood would be unwise. It is just as easy to transfuse more blood that is not tainted with a drug to achieve an elevated hematocrit and the risks of detection are greatly reduced if a person transfuses clean blood.

When Landis tested positive for exogynous testosterone several years ago prior to the last stage of the tour, I think he had boosted with tainted blood. He had tested clean for the same substance several times in the previous weeks. There is no immediate improvement in performance to be gained from taking a steroid injection prior to a day of racing. There is an immediate performance improvement to be gained from an autologous transfusion. It makes sense that he received a transfusion prior to the stage and that he introduced his own blood that had traces of out-of-season steroid use. This is just my opinion. I know there are more than a few conspiracy theories surrounding his case.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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"Transfusing boosted blood would be unwise. It is just as easy to transfuse more blood that is not tainted with a drug to achieve an elevated hematocrit and the risks of detection are greatly reduced if a person transfuses clean blood."

Isn't that what Dr. Fuentes was doing?

"4) Can it improve performance in all areas? Is it going to make a sprinter be able to sprint quicker, or would that be a different program altogether? Or is it best for say a climber, but not a TT rider?"

Ask wiggins.
 
David Suro said:
When Landis tested positive for exogynous testosterone several years ago prior to the last stage of the tour, I think he had boosted with tainted blood. He had tested clean for the same substance several times in the previous weeks. There is no immediate improvement in performance to be gained from taking a steroid injection prior to a day of racing. There is an immediate performance improvement to be gained from an autologous transfusion. It makes sense that he received a transfusion prior to the stage and that he introduced his own blood that had traces of out-of-season steroid use. This is just my opinion. I know there are more than a few conspiracy theories surrounding his case.

FLandis was using testosterone throughout the Tour. This was shown when his B samples were tested. FLandis, like Kohl, likely had his blood separated into components with a centrifuge, so no plasma and no testosterone.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Good point about the B-Samples from Landis.

Though the Blood Passport system has flaws, it should be able to indicate if autologous transfusions are being used in competition.

Who knows?
 
Oct 31, 2009
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I have an additional question, and I know this has been talked about here before. You have to extract and insert the blood in certain areas right? I mean not any place on the body will do right?
 
Jul 25, 2009
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David Suro said:
...Blood cells wear out in a relatively short period (several days to several weeks depending on the type of cell and level of activity of the person)...

Isn't the average lifespan of a red blood cell was about 100 days? Which is why reticulocytes, with a lifespan of approximately 1 day, should be around 1% in order to maintain the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
 
David Suro said:
Good point about the B-Samples from Landis.

Though the Blood Passport system has flaws, it should be able to indicate if autologous transfusions are being used in competition.

Who knows?

the question is more whether the uci will prosecute...ever.

especially anyone who can afford expensive lawyers.

or who sends the uci checks.

i doubt it.