Tammy came home yesterday and told me about a report she heard on NPR about the latest form of cheating by athletes. It’s called “gene doping” and it is undetectable by current doping tests. It consists of injecting a modified gene directly into muscle tissue and has increased muscle tissue in mice. It cannot be detected without sampling muscle tissue, a biopsy, if at all. Click here to listen to the report.
That kind of news would have really bugged me a year ago. Tammy and I only watch one sporting event a year, the Tour de France — and of course the Olympics. For the last several years the Tour experience has inevitably been marred at some point by a doping scandal. But when Tammy told me about this story last night my reaction wasn’t one of disgust but hope — for Hope. She needs more muscle mass. In fact the only “treatment” for PWS is the use of Human Growth Hormone, one of the more popular (though detectable) doping methods. Tammy and I have had to laugh at the irony that our die-hard cycling-fan family will soon include a bona-fide “doper.”
But since Hope’s physiological needs so closely parallel those of the unscrupulous athlete I find myself in the unique position of not entirely hating the dopers anymore. I’m sure that cheaters aren’t driving the research into this kind of technology — but I’ll bet they’re not a huge hinderance either — after all, they’re willing human guinea pigs.
In other sports news, the 2008 Tour de France is underway and Tammy and I are enjoying watching as much of it as we can. Our favorite part so far is heckling the commentators of Vs. Poor Al Trautwig is gone and has been replaced by Craig Hummer, who though he has been an correspondent for years has apparently never watched the coverage because he cannot seem to pronounce anyones name correctly.
We are also enjoying the advertisements. From the diversity of the ads we can deduce that the average cycling fan is in the upper-income levels — based on the number of luxury SUV and investment house ads. Those cycling fans who choose to watch the evening coverage with Bob Roll, in addition to being rich, are also addicted to beef jerky and have herpes (their partners don’t however, and they’d like to keep it that way.) Tammy and I think the jerky company and Valtrex should sponsor a team — Herpe-Jerky.