Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Irregular Report 14

An emailer points us to a New York Times report on a medical test that has not been approved by the FDA because of a 1% false-positive rate -- the FDA takes that to mean "the test doesn't work."

Dr. Berchuck of Duke said only 1 of 3,000 women has ovarian cancer. So even if a screening test had a 1 percent rate of false positives, it would mean that 30 out of 3,000 women tested might be subject to unnecessary surgery for every one real case of cancer.

Others say, what the hell, we take 'em out anyway, so what's the problem?

Rant wonders if any of the anti-doping tests dome recently at the Olympics which thus far have yielded few positives, mean anything. He points to Larry's excellent piece here on TBV.

Racejunkie "handicaps" the incomparable Vuelta which starts this weekend.

BBKE passes word of an EPO positive for Maribel Moreno, somehow dragging Landis in.

Magnificent Bastards has what purports to be a memo from Mr. Pound, "To all you ****ers that made fun of my name." We've tried real hard not to stoop to that particular attack -- there's so much more to criticize in a substantive way. And given the other content, we have to wonder if Mr. MB is a confident heterosexual.


Ali said...

If this isn't Floyd/Eric Morecambe, then I'll eat my hat. Love it.


Just keeps putting a smile on this face while I wait to here about boring stuff like careers.

Ali said...

Spelling mistakes galore,

Who cares !

Ali said...

I care, I hate the fact that I used "here" instead of "hear".

WTF ! I'll listen to Floyd/Eric again and all will be well.

Ali said...

Note to self:

Do not watch Kid Rock video 700,000 times when drunk. It doesn't help in the hangover department ... where's the f'ing asprin.

whareagle said...

Ali, lay off the Single Malt, okay? It's not a very good recovery drink!

Russ said...

I am glad someone is making some noise. Though, Ali, Whereagles advice can't be argued with :-).

The reason is after my last post, things went dead silent. Make me feel a bit like I might have burst Larry's well deserved bubble, after his hard work on his, possibly, last opus.

Larry, If I did, and I am not very tuned in that way, my heart felt apologies. I can only express admiration for your work.

My only intent was, dovetailing on your work, to try to broaden the scope a little which you had expressly stated as more narrow. And I have nothing but respect for the results you produced.

I did not put any more work into my comments than it took to record them. So that may be all they are worth.

Thanks again for you opuses.


Larry said...

Russ, you are always cool with me. I enjoyed your comments and I think your reminder is important, that LNDD may well have screwed up Landis' tests beyond reason and measure.

I think that we may have hit a point of exhaustion on the Landis case. Despite our best efforts, we'll never really know what took place in that French lab more than two years ago. We'll never really know what the test results meant. We have many reasons to doubt that the ADAs ever proved a case against Landis, but that case is now final.

The relative silence that followed my post here, and the complete and profound silence when Rant repeated what I'd said on his blog, is (I believe) a reflection of the exhaustion I feel at the thought of writing any more analyses of this case, as well as the exhaustion people feel in reading any more of this.

Russ said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

I must say, I remember an early discussion of lawyer pros and cons. In that exchange you held up for the pros, as I recall. Well, with the opus series you have certainly proved your metal! Both as an accomplished lawyer, bringing to bear impressive information organization and evaluation skills, but also rapidly coming up to speed in complex science.

I would put you against a number of scientists any day, if only for being so thorough!

Now you have also earned a rest and probably need to spend more time on your bike (like I do too).

But there is one still tirelessly stirring the pot and collecting information over on dpf I noticed. Infact more than one, there are still a few hearty souls continuing in pursuit of truth!

My guess is syi ain't finished and I'd bet Ali will weigh in some more. Blackmingo is still digging too. And not to forget the formidable TAF!


Ali said...


Re single malts, they're good recovery drinks under the right circumstances. After a hard ride ? Definitely not. After a night on the tiles ? Hey, I didn't invent the hair-of-the-dog concept, but I hate to spoil a good tradition (even though I don't really like spirits !)


Bill Mc said...


Yes, there is a very tangible "silence" here, and elsewhere, vis-a-vis the Landis case. For the most part the silence can be attributed to feelings of stunned exhaustion on the part of many Landis supporters.

As for me, while I am stunned by the CAS decision, I am not surprised by it because it is the kind of "circling of the wagons" response which comes when organizations sense a real threat to their power, prestige, prerogatives, or possibly even their very reason for existence.

Even though the anti-doping establishment has been "victorious" in their campaign against Floyd Landis, they should not be smug or complacent about it as it was a patently unfair contest from the beginning and may yet (hopefully) prove to be a Pyrrhic victory.

If there is ever any follow-on action in this matter, in a real (impartial) court with real rules of procedure and evidence, I would be up for contributing financial support to that effort. Sad to say, but at this juncture, I do not think that is very likely.

Kudos are due to everyone who made positive contributions to the dialog here.

Larry said...

Bill, I think that the anti-doping establishment is heading for a bad end. They are promising much more than they can deliver: a system of anti-doping rules with the apparent certainty of high-tech science that never delivers a false positive and that given time will find out any athlete who dopes. The ultimate danger for such a system is not the threat of a false positive -- as we've seen in the Landis case, no false positive can be proven to the satisfaction of the WADA scientists and arbitration panels. Instead, what will undo the ADAs is their failure to live up to the hype that they can catch the dopers. It is obvious to me that they cannot do so even today, when the science of performance-enhancing drugs is relatively primitive. It will become impossible as the science moves forward in quantum leaps, with gene doping, designer drugs and other technologies providing true performance enhancement in ways that so closely mimic human biochemistry that they will never be detectable.

The sensible strategy is for the ADAs to pull back, to admit the limitations of their tests and to restructure their system accordingly ... with rhetoric that is more low-key, with sanctions that are less draconian, with stated goals that are more modest. In doing so, they'd have my full support, and probably the support of a lot of other people, including those who have no particular interest in what happened to Floyd Landis but (to paraphrase Tom Fine) see the system for what it is and not what they wish it was. But the ADAs are not going to change. They will hold fast to their existing untenable line, until their system crashes and burns -- as it most certainly will do after a few more Festina affairs, Operacion Puertos and BALCO investigations. When this happens, there will be no voice of reason left to suggest how to reform the system. The ADA opposition will instead be led by those who advocate the legalization (and perhaps, the regulation) of performance-enhancing drugs in sport. AT which point I will pronounce a plague on both their houses.

As for a follow-up action in the courts, I still fully expect that the Landis team has something planned, not that I have a clue as to what it might be. However, I don't see any way to use the courts to overturn the AAF, and I do not believe that the courts will ever visit the substantive issues of this case. Court action may focus on issues of fraud or other procedural wrongdoing on the part of the ADAs or even the arbitrators. At the moment, I don't have much interest in any such proceeding -- it may be odd to hear a lawyer say this, but at some point I think the best thing to do is to admit you lost (fairly or unfairly) and move on. Also, the chance of any such case succeeding are very, very low. But depending on what's in store, I reserve the right to change my mind and join you in FFF2.