It’s Like Viagra for Cyclists

After doing a little research into the matter of doping sponsorship, I've concluded that there is no conspiracy. It seems like some of the most advanced techniques used for enhancing athletes' performance, like erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone, are old hat when it comes to biochemistry, and the advanced research has more to do with which coaches are reading the biochemistry journals and which ones can get hooked up by their old lab-tech/pharmaceutical frat buddies. EPO, for instance, was first discovered way back in the early part of the century. It was developed in the seventies by a couple of doctors searching for a treatment for anemia, and a synthetic form of the hormone was tested on humans in 1987, with the results published by the NEJM. It became popular among cyclists in 1989. In fact, according to my non-scientific survey of the medical literature, it seems like a lot of the journal articles having to do with performance enhancing drugs tend to deal with the problem of testing for the drugs to inhibit their use in competition.

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