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Author Topic: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.  (Read 3608 times)

Offline Titanscape

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Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« on: 08/09/2004 17:09:08 »
My crafty Dr friend advised me when discussing sports and doping that if you have a litre of your blood taken out and refrigerated for a month then have it put back in that your body will take it well and be stronger, and no test can detect it. Also it is safe.

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #1 on: 09/09/2004 04:57:53 »
I used to run track in highschool and that was a common practice. I believe it to be somewhat safe, but I never tried it. One person in particular that I remember doing this would get very flush. His heart would race and he would get real splotchy. I think it could over exert the heart, but I'm not sure. It just seems to me that too much blood would make you sluggish. Too much for the body to process. Unless you built up slowly, it seems that it could cause some sort of shock.
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Offline roberth

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #2 on: 09/09/2004 07:51:18 »
The extra red blood cells enable more oxygen to be carried to the muscles, increasing aerobic ability. There's many articles if you do a google on blood doping. This was an interesting and short one:
http://www.nzsda.co.nz/pdfs/fact_sheet_blood.pdf
Technological advances have made this practise fairly redundant.
« Last Edit: 09/09/2004 07:52:10 by roberth »
 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #3 on: 09/09/2004 08:00:38 »
Wouldn't the sudden addition of a significant volume of blood cause a rise in blood pressure?

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Offline chris

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #4 on: 09/09/2004 13:24:38 »
The idea behind the process is that by removing a unit or so of blood a month before a big race gives the body time to naturally replace the 'lost' blood. When the stored speciment is subsequently reinfused you temporarily have a much higher haemoglobin level and hence the blood can carry (bind) and deliver much more oxygen per unit volume (as RobertH points out). Increased oxygen delivery improves muscle performance and cuts down the need to respire anaerobically (without oxygen), a side-effect of which is lactic acid production.

The technique is detectable in so much that routine blood tests would show a sudden 'leap' in haemoglobin after the infusion but as no drugs are involved it is hard to prove otherwise.

The downside of this approach is that it can cause volume overload (literally too much blood in circulation) which can precipitate cardiac failure and it will markedly increase blood viscosity (stickiness). This is because, as Ylide suggests, when the blood is first infused it will push up blood pressure. The kidneys quickly respond by excreting more water (to normalise blood pressure) which makes the blood much thicker than usual and hence more likely to clot. This situation can precipitate strokes and venous thromboses (DVT). But then the alternative is steroids, shrunken testes / breasts, hairiness, acne and acromegalic features... by the way, anyone seen Madonna lately ?

Chris

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Offline neilep

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #5 on: 09/09/2004 14:10:56 »
I just can not fathom the practice of blood doping or steriod use or any other enhancement to benefit function and ability in the short term. I mean, surely, if someone gets away with it, they must know that they have won unfairly.

 This years Olympics for example, was almost a farce for the number of athletes who thought they got get away with it (some probably did)....for me...it stains the whole meaning and defeats the whole object of what the Olympics is about and furthermore puts an idelible mark on the grand utopian notion of all nations coming together in peace and tranquility blah dee dahh bee dahh !!!

Is there actually any medicinal benefit at all Chris in Blood doping ?...and ...forgive me if this is a silly but wouldn't the extra vitality be counteracted by the extra weight ?...and where does the extra blood go to ?....I know you say above that the kidneys quickly react by excreting more water which presumably adds even more volume and weight eh ?

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Offline chris

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #6 on: 09/09/2004 17:12:42 »
The extra volume expands the circulation and, in the short term, puts up blood pressure. The kidneys respond to the raised blood pressure by assuming (correctly) that it is because blood volume is too high. They compensate by promoting water excretion, turning the extra volume into urine.

This leaves you with a normal blood volume, but a much higher proportion of red blood cells (because unlike water, the extra cells are not removed by the kidney because they are too large to fit through the kidney's 'sieve' which it uses to filter blood).

If you put blood in a centrifuge and spin it down roughly half is plasma (clear watery fluid) and the other half (the so-called haematocrit) is cells. But if you carried out this procedure after blood loading (as described above) the haematocrit would be much greater than normal, as would the red cell count. This would be a give away to adjudicators if they had access to blood samples taken over a period of time because after the re-infusion your haemoglobin and red cell count would apparently have leapt up quite unphysiologically, and quite literally over night !

The evidence that this is advantageous, and can boost performance, is that people are prepared to do it in the first place. They must have evidence of effectiveness, otherwise they would not resort to such drastic measures, particularly when you consider the associated risks (heart failure, stroke, DVT & pulmonary emboli). But that's the price that people are prepared to pay for a gold medal these days.

Chris

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Re: Sports advantage, an extra litre of blood.
« Reply #6 on: 09/09/2004 17:12:42 »

 

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