Viagra, latest performance enhancing drug?
When George Downey and other lacrosse players at
"They're making fun of me,"
Except that the Marywood study does not involve the bedroom, but the playing field. It is being financed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which is investigating whether the diamond-shaped blue pills create an unfair competitive advantage in dilating an athlete's blood vessels and unduly increasing oxygen-carrying capacity. If so, the agency could ban the drug.
"Basically, it allows you to compete with a sea level, or near sea level, aerobic capacity at an altitude," Kenneth Rundell, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Marywood, said of Viagra.
Some experts are more sceptical. Anthony Butch, the director of the Olympic drug-testing lab at UCLA, said it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" to prove Viagra provides a competitive edge, given that the differences in performance would be slight.
But, through the decades, athletes have tried everything from strychnine to bulls' testicles to veterinary steroids in a desperate effort to gain an edge.
Interest in the drug among anti-doping experts was further piqued by a study conducted at Stanford University in 2006, which indicated that some participants taking Viagra improved their performances by nearly 40 percent in 10-kilometre cycling time trials conducted at a simulated altitude of 12,700 feet — a height far above general elite athletic competition.
At this point, there is no evidence of widespread use of Viagra by elite athletes,
The agency, based in
The Marywood study is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and the
"My guess is, it's a pretty easy decision to make," Rundell said. "It's a compound that's pretty easily measured. And it clearly provides an unfair advantage, at least at altitude. I couldn't imagine it not going down on the list, but I'm not the one who makes those decisions." —NYTn A lacrosse George Downey (left) is part of a study being conducted at
- DNA [24th Nov.]
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Tags: Viagra , Drugs
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