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Performance enhancing drugs in sport

EPO and other Peptide Hormones

Peptide hormones naturally occur in the body and circulate in the blood. Different peptide hormones can have very different effects, for instance:

MusclesHuman Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) will help increase muscle mass in males by increasing testosterone production and can help restore testicular mass lost after prolonged use of anabolic steroids.

Bloods cellsErythropoietin (EPO) increases the rate of maturation of red blood cells in the bone marrow, raising the percentage of the blood comprised by red blood cells and therefore increasing the ability of an athlete’s blood to transport oxygen to cells that are producing energy during exercise. This additional oxygen will particularly reduce the fatigue felt in muscles in long distance or multi-day events such as marathons and cycle touring.

Side effects of EPO are caused by the thickening of the blood which requires the heart to pump harder and can lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. After the Belgian cyclist Marco Pantani died in February 2004 the BBC reported that he was the 8th international cyclist to die ‘prematurely’ in 13 months.

Though Marco Pantani’s death appears to be linked to cocaine not EPO, this article is a good example of the issues involved with drug use in cycling. Read it and rewrite the points made by John Brewer about heart attacks, drugs and athletes as a structured argument separating out the claims, the evidence for them and the warrants. Warrants are the links relating the claim to the evidence as shown in the example below.  


“I know that after this death people will talk inevitably about drug use," said Ernest de Vuyst, manager of Sermon's Daikan team.


Data evidence


people will talk about drug use

climate of EPO use in cycling

knowing about people

See this BEEP page for more help.

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