Drug testing

This is why drug testing scares me. A recent study, summarised in this slowtwitch.com article, demonstrated that athletes ingesting a mere 5ug of the nandrolone precursor 19-norandrostenedione (NOR) tested positive for this anabolic steroid using existing procedures. That’s a tiny amount. It’s a trace amount. It’s an amount that you wouldn’t ingest to improve your performance but the kind of amount that is considered a contaminant or trace element within another food.
Should governing bodies risk destroying an honest athlete’s career with science we don’t yet fully understand?
Links:
SlowTwitch – How Much is Enough?
PubMed abstract & links – Watson P., Judkins C., Houghton E., Russell C., Maughan R.J., Urinary nandrolone metabolite detection after ingestion of a nandrolone precursor. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 41. pp.766-72, 2009.

Finishing up?

It’s been a little quiet recently as we come to the end of the academic year. The rest of the university finished and shut up shop ages ago, or so it feels. In medicine we’re in a revision week this week and students will be hitting the final first year exams next week. The other years are pretty much done (and from what I hear, they’ve done well too). After that we hit a revision period for students retaking exams, they’ll then sit those supplementary papers in August, and before you know it we’ll be welcoming the next batch of students onto the new Swansea four-year medicine programme.
Of course that programme is going to be all new, so we’ve got a shocking amount of work to do this summer and I imagine that next year is going to be hard work for staff and students alike. Jo and I will be teaching human structure every week for two years. Ouch. Our student contact hours have got to be very high compared with other courses, but that’s one of the best ways of learning anatomy, we feel.
Good luck to the first years for next week’s exams, and I hope you all have a great summer. Come back in September fresh and eager.