Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

What would explain Landis's odd doping tests from the Tour de France?

By Andrew Pollack on 08/07/2006 at 05:14 PM EDT

I've been wondering about this a bit. What kinds of things could make a test like that come up with results which we interpret incorrectly? Set aside the obvious nonstarters, that either he cheated or that the test was flawed or tampered with. They're all more probable than anything else, but make for boring discussion.

One thought I had goes back to some articles I read a few years back about the role of testosterone in decision reinforcement. If I recall correctly, when you make a good decision -- or are convinced it's a good decision -- this hormone tends to increase, while when you're not comfortable with your decisions it tends to decrease. The theory was that this leads to a cycle where those making the best decisions (at least according to themselves and their peer reinforced opinions) end up with higher confidence and leadership that comes from the increase in the hormone, while those making poor decisions or those not supported by their peers end up with lower levels of the hormone and tend to become more docile and less likely to lead (over time and in general of course).

Apply this to Landis for a minute. He comes off the worst day of the race he's had and ends up with a huge rebound. In the one day he makes up for previous errors and really pulls ahead. Could this be not a result of increased testosterone but rather could the increased levels be the result of this exaltation following a perfect event?

Surely some will say that the great performance is more evidence that he'd been doping. Is that really possible? As I recall, no previous or following tests showed unusual levels of these steroids. Do they work that quickly? I had thought the benefits from drugs like this were cumulative and increased performance over time by increasing the result of exercise and work. If that last bit is the case, any correlation between a one time doping incident and such a performance would have to be coincidental.

I'm not a doctor, obviously. These simple conflicting bits of information however do raise more questions about the testing process and the use of these drugs than the news reports seem able to answer at present.

There are  - loading -  comments....

Not a doctor either...By Jan on 08/08/2006 at 06:42 AM EDT
Interesting thought.

Just to add a couple of "facts" from "experts" i've heard commenting on this

1. The testosterone found in Landis's blood samples where of a synthetic kind
that is not produced naturally in the human body.

2. Testosterone shots are used to help the body restituate much faster after an
extreme fysical performance. In other words, after Landis's body "died" on, i
think it was the 16.stage, it was repaired with testosterone over the night,
letting him emerge the following day as fresh as was it stage one.

This is what i've heard. I have no idea if #1 is true or not
My own thoughts on this are...By Bruce Perry on 08/08/2006 at 12:44 PM EDT
Why is Landis cheating unthinkable? I certainly don't have enough facts to
judge, but how can it be ruled out at this point? The presence of synthetic
testosterone is something that needs explaining.

News reports indicate that though the main use of steroids is in in training,
there's some belief now that they aid in recovery. He might have been
desperate enough to risk it after that one stage where he fell way behind. Or
perhaps a coach gave him something on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis. That
seems to happen out there in the sports world with some frequency.
Oh it's absolutely thinkable -- and most likely -- just not interesting.By Andrew Pollack on 08/08/2006 at 01:07 PM EDT
they should just test all of them every day of the raceBy Ken Yee on 08/08/2006 at 02:18 PM EDT
What's puzzling is Landis tested clean for part of the race and then decided to
try steroids to see if he could get away with it? Just seems out of
character. It doesn't matter if someone slipped some into him w/o him knowing still costs him the jersey. It's unfortunate too...this was
probably one of the most memorable come-back stories for the TdF, especially w/
his bum hip. If this thing sticks, he might as well just retire after the hip
surgery because he's been tried in the public eye :-P

Other Recent Stories...

  1. 09/04/2018With two big projects on hold, I suddenly find myself very available for new short and long term projects. In twenty five years, I don't think I've ever written an entry like this, but if you need the kind of work I do now would be a great time to get in touch. Both of the big projects I had lined up for late summer and early fall have been placed on hold and will be that way for a while. With the kids now all off at college and careers, I'm open to more travel than such than I have been in decades, but unless something else comes along, I'll be here working on updates to Second Signal and other things that ...... 
  2. 07/13/2018Who is HCL and why is it a good thing that they are now the ones behind Notes and Domino?We need to address some biases here. IBM has made a deal under which the Notes & Domino software and intellectual property is now being developed and maintained by HCL America. HCL America is part of the very large "HCL Technologies" company that has grown from its roots in India to become an 8 Billion Dollar company with a global presence in the IT Industry. You could be excused for initially believing, as many people do when they hear this, that "they've outsourced the code to India where they'll milk it ...... 
  3. 03/21/2018Domino Apps on IOS is a Game Changer. Quit holding back.BOOM. This will be as important for the platform as Traveler. If your company has ditched Notes and Domino, I feel sorry for you. For companies that do use Notes/Domino this is a game changer and Apple should be paying attention. Here's why: There are hundreds of little Notes client applications you'd never spend the time and money to build and deploy for your internal user base on IOS that we use Notes for all the time (those of us still using it). Now, those are suddenly ALL available on the iPad. ...... 
  4. 02/15/2018Andrew’s Proposed Gun Laws 
  5. 05/05/2016Is the growing social-sourced economy the modern back door into socialism? 
  6. 04/20/2016Want to be whitelisted? Here are some sensible rules for web site advertising 
  7. 12/30/2015Fantastic new series on Syfy called “The Expanse” – for people who love traditional science fiction 
  8. 10/20/2015My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com  
  9. 08/07/2015Here is one for you VMWARE gurus - particularly if you run ESXi without fancy drive arrays 
  10. 08/06/2015The Killer of Orphans (Orphan Documents) 
Click here for more articles.....

pen icon Comment Entry
Your Name
*Your Email
* Your email address is required, but not displayed.
Your thoughts....
Remember Me  

Please wait while your document is saved.