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Logo of brjsmedBritish Journal of Sports MedicineVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Br J Sports Med. 2007 October; 41(10): 626.
PMCID: PMC2465185


The use of rules that are not completely defined for the “custody chain” of antidoping specimens is an enormous problem, which influences the reliability of the controls and the compliance of the athletes. Moreover, uncontrolled and unofficial publication in newspapers of previous tests, as happened in August 2005 in the case of positive analyses for Lance Armstrong in the 1999 Tour de France, worsen the scenario. New techniques, instruments and variables are sometimes proposed by sports federations and antidoping agencies before scientific validation. The preanalytical phase of analysis (storage, transportation, custody, identification, etc) is crucial. The use of certain markers for antidoping purposes must be preceded by studies on biological variation and effects of exercise on their concentrations (eg, growth hormone and haematological variables). The transfer of laboratory variables and their reference intervals from pathology to sports medicine and antidoping research is questionable and sometimes inappropriate. A debate on these arguments is to be recommended; this article is a good beginning.

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