The scientific activities of Doping Authority Netherlands consist of the following:
- monitoring scientific literature;
- consulting experts;
- the further development of scientific research.
MONITORING 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 118 relevant articles were added to those archives in 2022 (2021: 406). 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 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 in USADA’s Scientific Symposium, which was organised from 30 to 3 October.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Allocation of scientific budget
Two studies in collaboration with RIVM looking at the quality and composition of prohormones (which began in 2020) and nootropics (which began in 2021) were completed in 2022. A study (which began in 2021) by the University of Leuven was completed that looked at the content of the messages spread by ‘influencers’ on social media about prohibited substances such as anabolic steroids.
Doping Authority Netherlands spent the remaining 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 practical part of the study began in 2022.
Studies commissioned by the Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport commissioned the Mulier Institute to study what motivates recreational athletes to resort to doping. The study comprises three components: a quantitative component, a qualitative component, and a component on the prevalence of doping in grassroots sports. Papers on the first two components were published in 2022 under the titles Van vitaminepil tot doping: opvattingen over middelengebruik in de recreatieve sport (From vitamin pill to doping: attitudes to substance use in recreational sports) and Het perfecte lichaam: met of zonder doping? (The perfect body: with or without doping?). Doping Authority Netherlands was consulted for both papers.
Collaboration with government and government bodies
The research officer is a member of a standing expert panel as part of the ongoing development of the Sport and Exercise data infrastructure organised by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Doping Authority Netherlands also participated in the NVWA’s Reconnaissance Study of Special Food and Drink Products (BED).
Collaboration with the Steroids Clinic
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 study is progressing well.
The HAARLEM study produced one paper in 2022 on blood pressure, fat values and haematocrit values during and after a course.
The doctorate research at the University of Birmingham on the relationship between the use of anabolic steroids and the personality structure of fitness and bodybuilders was terminated prematurely due to the departure of the scientific officer involved.
Supervision of students
The scientific officer was supervising a student during the writing of her thesis. The subject of the thesis was the interpretation of laboratory results relating to cocaine use. She gave her final presentation on 14 January.