Here are a few commentaries from last week we need to note:
1. in 'Designing Improved Humans', Henry Miller, M.D., discusses performance enhancement's march to gene doping:
The well-publicized use by athletes of performance-enhancing drugs including androgenic steroids and human growth hormone has gotten more people than ever before thinking and talking about the subject. But the issue is neither new nor limited to a small number of people...
Technology will soon offer even more extreme possibilities for enhancement. Scientists, using gene therapy to increase the levels of a single enzyme, recently created a strain of mice with increased physical abilities by genetically altering a gene that affects metabolism. By injecting an active form of the gene PEPCK-C into an embryo, the scientists found that the mouse more efficiently burns body fat for energy and produces less lactic acid during exercise...
These experiments have reinvigorated a long-running debate about the ethics of creating designer humans. “We’re in an era when breakthroughs in biology and intelligence are outpacing the culture’s capacity to deal with the ethics,” said Joe Tsien, Ph.D., the Princeton University molecular biologist who directed the development of a “smart mouse” almost a decade ago. “There will be issues of access and who can afford it and whether the social wealthy class will have the intellectual advantage over poor people.” As though attending M.I.T. instead of Florida A&M doesn’t confer an intellectual advantage.
Artificial enhancement was also addressed in the Sports Illustrated article here.
2: The Broward-Palm Beach New Times looks at the HGH-promoting Anti-aging clinics in Florida. The article begins idyllically:
Grass doesn't get any greener than on major-league baseball's spring training fields. It's the annual dawn of each season, when vivacious young hopefuls play catch with millionaire all-stars. That was the scene on a February morning at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, spring training home of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Then turns incongruously ironic:
One year ago, this citadel of major-league baseball wasn't so serene. Investigators contend that South Florida is not just a popular spring training destination but also the epicenter of a nationwide network distributing illicit prescription steroids and human growth hormones.
To follow a minor league player, juicing through an Anti-aging clinic.
J says he paid about $1,000 per stack. A "stack" is a combination of steroids and HGH that comes as a package. It's generally used for a one-month workout cycle. When his first stack arrived, he says, he called a number he had for Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center to figure out how to use it. "I didn't want to inject the wrong thing — this into that or in the wrong order or whatever, and have something bad happen." The conversation was awkward initially, but he got the information he needed.
Near the television in his apartment, J has a photo of himself and two friends posing in a weight room. He was a late-round draft pick out of high school only a few years ago. The signing bonus offered to him was less than $100,000, but it was enough for him to decide to forgo college (and scholarship eligibility) and move straight into rookie-league ball, the bottom of the minor leagues. He had mild success his first season but got hurt halfway through. He was injured again early into his second season.
Reminds us of the story yesterday documenting a minor league draftee testing positive for a PED.
This is a very well researched piece; it should go into the reference bank of Anti-aging clinic performance-enhancement doping.