Bike Biz says that the Olympic issue of Journal of Mass Spectrometry reveals a new and "improved" method of testing for testosterone usage:
A team of scientists the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory at the University of Utah have developed a test that makes use of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. This method has incredibly high sensitivity (down to 1 ng/ml) and increases the power with which officials can search for both testosterone and epitestosterone within a sample.
Our system means that we can determine testosterone/epitestosterone ratios in a sample with greater confidence, and therefore be in a better position to spot doping violations without falsely accusing innocent athletes,” said lead investigator Dr Jonathan Danaceau.
But, not everyone agrees that this an actual step forward towards the more accurate detection of testosterone. TBV is quoted:
“[It’s] the bad test made cheaper and less prone to execution error, but leaving the same problems - high/low mode people, the recently noted genetic issues, and general variance. Will WADA re- evaluate the 4:1 limit with this method?”
Expanding, this is not a "new test", but an improved method of carrying out the confirmation of the T/E test. As we recall, there are two parts to a T/E test: a screen, which remains unchanged, and a confirmation. In the existing methods, the confirmation is done by GC/MS, and the GC/MS step is where the LNDD messed up by not collecting and examining enough diagnostic ions to meet identification requirements. The new confirmation method is faster/cheaper then the GC/MS method, is more sensitive for low values of T and E, and it is said to be easier to get the diagnostic ions. This is all good, and an improvement over the existing methods. Bravo.
However, it does nothing to address the fact that the T/E test isn't a very good one.
The most recent news is that for more than half the population, the T/E test can make an incorrect conclusion about doping. Thirty some odd percent of dopers have "lucky" genetics that will prevent them from showing positive on even the 4:1 value; and some proportion of clean people have the "cursed" gene that will have them appear positive even when they are not doping. This method does nothing to change those statistics.
For several years it has been recognized by CAS and WADA that to get an AAF upheld based on a T/E alone, the values needed to be sky-high, an/or a longitudinal study done to understand the physiology of the individual in question. (This is presumably among the data collected by the passport system.)
Now, the T/E test (both parts) is used as a screen for the tedious and expensive carbon istotope ratio test (CIR IRMS), and that can be triggered by the simple screen without the confirmation step. In fact, it's always OK to run the IRMS, without having even run a T/E test, though that is expensive to do. ( Landis got nowhere arguing the IRMS should not have been run with invalid T/E results.)
What this article does is improve the least interesting of the methods involved in the Landis case. If there had been improvements making the IRMS test cheaper and more robust, that would be a real significant breakthrough. But, in our opinion, improving the T/E confirmation step just provides a marginal, though significant gain for the budget of testing laboratories. It does little to improve the liklihood that innocent athletes are cleared, or guilty ones found to have doped.
If I was a doper, I wouldn't feel threatened by this test at all. If I was already beating the old T/E tests, I'll be beating this one too.
The article may be accessed for the next month at the Wiley web site.
Bike World News wonders if today, June 19th, is the day we might all hear the CAS decision in the Floyd Landis case. BWN wonders if Landis was a no-show at the Lumberjack because of intense training for this year's Tour de France, should a favorable ruling come his way. Sounds far fetched, but stranger things have probably happened.
Sing Zion shares attendance numbers for a Mennonite adult choir and maybe we now know what Floyd Landis has been doing with his time.Then again it's probably a different Floyd Landis, or is it?
September 07: Hearing Award
October 07: Hue's Hearing Appraisal
November 07: Major document Release
January 08: Larry's Curb Your Anticipation
Thursday, June 19, 2008