A test similar to one used in cancer treatments has antidoping officials encouraged that they have found a new, and important, way to catch athletes using human growth hormone.
The test uses the same science that detects bone and breast cancer. A laboratory technician takes several milliliters of blood and spins the sample in a centrifuge. The blood is then mixed with chemicals, a reaction occurs and an instrument is used to measure the illumination in the blood.
The intensity of the light, antidoping experts say, signals whether the person has used H.G.H. over the past 10 to 14 days. The procedure is known as the biomarkers test.
So, all that equipment and labor that is extremely scarce can now be put to work catching athletes dumb enough to use a substance that doesn’t enhance performance instead of aiding cancer victims. Nice tradeoff.
I also found this quote telling (all science quotes were from anti-doping authorities, BTW).
“H.G.H. has been used with great impunity since the 1970s,” Howman said. “It’s very available to athletes. They use it freely, and they usually don’t use things that can’t help them.”
1) Synthetic growth hormone was not developed until the 1980s.
2) Players use placebos like titanium necklaces, corked bats, and superstitions quite frequently.