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The Athlete’s Biological Passport and Indirect Markers of Blood Doping

  • Pierre-Edouard SottasEmail author
  • Neil Robinson
  • Martial Saugy
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 195)

Abstract

In the fight against doping, disciplinary sanctions have up to now been primarily based on the discovery of an exogenous substance in a biological fluid of the athlete. However, indirect markers of altered erythropoiesis can provide enough evidence to differentiate between natural variations and blood doping. Forensic techniques for the evaluation of the evidence, and more particularly Bayesian networks, allow antidoping authorities to take into account firstly the natural variations of indirect markers – through a mathematical formalism based on probabilities – and secondly the complexity due to the multiplicity of causes and confounding effects – through a distributed and flexible graphical representation. The information stored in an athlete’s biological passport may be then sufficient to launch a disciplinary procedure against the athlete. The strength of the passport is that it relies on a statistical approach based on sound empirical testing on large populations and justifiable protocols. Interestingly, its introduction coincides with the paradigm shift that is materializing today in forensic identification science, from archaic assumptions of absolute certainty and perfection to a more defensible empirical and probabilistic foundation.

Keywords

Blood doping Indirect markers Athlete’s biological passport Evaluation of scientific evidence Bayesian inference 

Abbreviations

3G

Third generation

ABPS

Abnormal blood profile score

BN

Bayesian network

CDF

Cumulative distribution function

CSCQ

Swiss Quality Control Center

CV

Coefficient of variation

EPO

Erythropoietin

Hct

Hematocrit

Hgb

Hemoglobin

IGF-1

Insulin growth factor-1

OOC

Out-of-competition

PIO2

Partial pressure of inspired oxygen

PREC

Pre-competition

RET#

Reticulocyte count

RET%

Reticulocyte percentage

rHuEPO

Recombinant human erythropoietin

WHO

World Health Organization

Notes

Acknowledgements

A major portion of this work was made possible by a grant from the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research (grant #320000-111771) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (grants #R06C1MS and #R07D0MS).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre-Edouard Sottas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Neil Robinson
  • Martial Saugy
  1. 1.Swiss Laboratory for Doping AnalysesEpalingesSwitzerland

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