Super Blood

Forget EPO and blood transfusions, enter oxygen therapeutics - substances that can carry 4 times more oxygen than red blood cells. Right now it's in clinical trials to treat stroke and brain injury patients by carrying oxygen past blockages. But it hit me that this stuff would work for cyclists to carry more oxygen to the muscles during a race. It lasts 4 hours or so and eventually works it way out of your body through natural processes. However, it should be easy to detect in blood or urine samples so it's not a stealth performance enhancer, but for cyclists willing to take the risk they might try to use it between doping checks. If a pro cyclist shot up with this stuff I bet it would be like a nitrous boost to a hot rod. Oxygent is one oxygen therapeutic in clinical trials.

I found this while looking around the WIRED Science website after I caught one of their shows on PBS. I've seen 2-3 of these shows now and they're quirky, but cover cool science and technology like a table-top touch-interactive display and how to put up your own satellite (they didn't really do it, but they went through the process). They have most of their program segments online so go check it out, if you're interested.

I also caught the NOVA Science Now show about Epigenetics. I'd never heard of this field, but the basic idea is that there is more diversity in life than can be explained just with the genetic code. One analogy is that the genetic code is like a book and epigenetics determines what parts of the book are read. Epigentics explains the apparent paradox in genetics of an identical twin that develops autism (or cancer or other such health issues), but the other twin does not. Researchers are already experimenting with epigenetic therapies for cancer with some sucess. Fascinating.


Eat Sleep MTB said...

Why spend any brain power even thinking about artificial performance enhancement? I am so not into feeding big pharma, I don't even take aspirin. Leave that respectively to pros and Bush.

KanyonKris said...

It's just an idle curiosity. I couldn't help wonder if pro cyclists use EPO to increase their red blood cell count (to carry more oxygen), what would this oxygen therapy stuff do for them?

Speaking of big pharma, WIRED Science had a story about marketing used to drive drug sales. Disheartening that it's so effective.

Eat Sleep MTB said...

Yah, one of my favorite Jib-Jab skits: