The scientific activities of Doping Authority Netherlands consist of the following:
- monitoring scientific literature
- consulting experts;
- further development of scientific research.
REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE
To ensure it is informed about the latest developments, Doping Authority Netherlands keeps a close eye on new publications of doping-related scientific literature and saves copies of the relevant articles in its archives. A total of 406 relevant articles were added to those archives in 2020 (2020: 228). All the articles are available in digital format inside the organisation and they are also posted on the website doping.nl.
The information from the available literature serves as a basis for internal advice for the Legal Affairs, Enforcement & Investigation and Education departments, and the CEO (for, among other things, his contacts with the press). The information is also used to answer specific scientific questions from people outside the organisation such as doctors, lawyers, journalists, students and other interested parties.
A network with a range of scientists is constantly being maintained in order to keep up to date with the latest developments in all sorts of areas relevant to doping: haematology, cardiology, endocrinology, physiology, sociology, health education, ethics, sports medicine, gene therapy and clinical chemistry.
Doping Authority Netherlands also plays an advisory role for a range of initiatives. The basic idea here is always to contribute both knowledge and experience and to further them in our own organisation. In some cases, this advisory role has been formalised. In this context, scientific contacts were maintained with the steroids clinics in the Spaarne Gasthuis hospital in Haarlem and the Elisabeth-Tweesteden hospital in Tilburg, and the British nutritional supplement testing system, Informed Sport, of the LGC company.
Doping Authority Netherlands also participated online at USADA’s hybrid Scientific Symposium, which was organised from 1 to 4 October.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Spending of scientific budget
Doping Authority Netherlands has an annual scientific budget of 70,500 euros. On 25 June, a qualitative study was published of the views of support staff about doping in elite sports. This study was commissioned by Doping Authority Netherlands and conducted by the Mulier Institute.
Two studies in collaboration with RIVM looking at the quality and composition of prohormones (which began in 2020) and nootropics (which began in 2021) are still in progress. There is also a study in progress (which began in 2021) by the University of Leuven looking at the content of the messages spread by ‘influencers’ on social media about prohibited substances such as anabolic steroids.
Doping Authority Netherlands spent the last budget of the - now disbanded - Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands Foundation to conduct a study at the DoCoLab in Ghent. The study is looking at the development of a detection method for thyroid hormones. The research proposal was under review by the ethics committee of Ghent University at the end of 2021.
Studies with the Ministry of Health as client
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport asked the consortium Bureau Beke / VU-University Amsterdam to conduct a study of trafficking in doping in 2019-2020. The resulting report – Strong Stuff – was published in December 2020. Doping Authority Netherlands was a member of the supervisory committee for the research. In 2021, the Ministry consulted the supervisory committee on several occasions about the policy response to the report.
The study Doping use in Dutch elite sports was published on 22 March. It was conducted by the Mulier Institute and funded by the Ministry. Doping Authority Netherlands was represented on the supervisory committee. The estimate of doping use among Dutch elite athletes is 12.5 percent, with a margin of uncertainty ranging 3.0 to 24.7 percent. That wide margin means it is impossible to say with any certainty that doping has become more prevalent since 2015.
An article about the 2015 study of the presence of doping substances in nutrition supplements was published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. The study was subsidised by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Collaboration with government and government bodies
Doping Authority Netherlands worked with the NVWA, customs authorities and the IGJ on an article about SARMs: a new health issue in fitness and bodybuilding. The article was published in the journal Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidswetenschappen.
Other publications and reviews
In 2021, Doping Authority Netherlands was involved as an author in the publication of a systematic review and analysis of sensitive and transgressive behaviour.
Collaboration with the Steroids Clinic
The Brabant Medical Ethics Review Committee (METC) approved the HARNAS study in 2021. The HARNAS study builds on the earlier HAARLEM study. However, instead of just monitoring the subjects prior to, during and after the use of a course of steroids, the subjects are now encouraged to use fewer doping substances, or none at all.
The HAARLEM study produced one article in 2021 on testosterone production during and after a course of steroids.
The scientific officer of Doping Authority Netherlands is working on a doctorate at the University of Birmingham. The research looks at the relationship between the use of anabolic steroids and the personality structure of fitness adepts and bodybuilders.