Science Questions

Regulating athletes' metabolism

Sun, 13th Jul 2008

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Question

Aviator Shepherd, Second Life asked:

Can we not just monitor athletes to see how their metabolism is behaving and then regulate it so everyone has the same level?

Answer

We put this question to Professor Chris Cooper:

Itís kind of like the athlete having a biometric passport that says theyíre all the same level and treating them like a formula one car.  Something of the sort is used in cycling and in cross-country skiing where if you have too many red blood cells you canít compete because itís assumed itís unsafe.  You might have a heart attack.  Youíre not banned.

Chris Smith -  In reality someoneís probably just banked a unit of blood a few months ago, built their blood back up and then re-infused it before the big race to boost their oxygen capacity before the big race?

Chris Cooper -  Yeah, but if you set the level low enough then they will fail.  Thatís the trick, to set it at a fair level.

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