By: Laura Cox, Ph.D.
Both an “Athlete’s Passport” and use of the most current testing technology are critical to the long-term success and credibility of an anti-doping program.
An “Athlete’s Passport” must at the very least contain a complete, digital history of each athlete’s test results. It should also contain a physiologic profile of that athlete, so changes in an athletes physiologic or health profile over time would be spotted. To serve as a deterrent, athletes should be tested for two years prior to participation in a World Championships or Olympic Games.
Currently, the most accurate and flexible (ability to detect anomalies in blood and urine, not simply specific substances) testing technology is “High Throughput Testing.” The major advantages of performing high throughput testing to detect and deter pharmacological and genetic doping are that the tests are quantitative, reproducible and inexpensive.
The second component of this strategy is the establishment of elite athlete population norms and individual athlete profiles. The relatively inexpensive high throughput testing tools allow multiple tests out of competition to establish population and individual norms. The power of this approach is the extreme sensitivity of the high throughput testing methods for accurate detection of very small genetic and physiological changes.
Consequently, every athlete can be tested out of competition to establish the individual’s “normal” profile and deviations from the normal profile will provide specific data from which to determine agents causing deviation in the profile (e.g. sickness, overtraining, doping; etc.).