Doping Debate in Sports: Should Athletes Use Drugs?
swissnex San Francisco - swissnex San Francisco
The incredible feats that athletes accomplish fascinate us, but what are the personal, cultural and athletic impact of doping in sports?After the Olympic Games and just prior to the America's Cup World Series in San Francisco, swissnex San Francisco will kick off its series Sports & Tech with the event Gaming the System: Doping in Sports, focusing on the controversial and omnipresent use of performance enhancers in sports.Max Gassman tells us about his research on the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which elevates red cell blood production and increases arterial oxygen, ultimately leading to improved exercise performance. Gassman will explain how EPO, normally used to treat patients who suffer from anemia, is also an effective blood-doping agent used by some athletes. He presents his data on mice and the adaptive mechanisms of humans who live at elevations above 3000 meters, where the reduced availability of oxygen induces the production of EPO.Carsten Lundby of the University of Zurich presents his research on blood doping in the sporting world. This common practice has been around for at least half a century, and Lundby discusses its effects and attempts by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to detect and limit blood doping, as well as whether they have been successful.Finally, John Gleaves from California State University, Fullerton, addresses how the cultural fascination with performance-enhancing technologies, manifesting itself as both fear and enthusiasm, reveals larger social concerns about what it means to be human and how to handle advances in sciences that affect sporting performance. Because sports mirror our society, our interest in doping tells us more about ourselves than we realize.Kate Scott, sports anchor at KNBR 680 AM in San Francisco, joins us as the moderator for the panel discussion.