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New doping test up to 1,000 times more effective

A new doping test is much more effective.

A team of researchers at the University of Texas in Arlington think they’ve developed a new method of doping test that could dramatically increase the timeframe when an athlete can test positive after taking performance enhancing drugs. It is also much more sensitive and can detect some types of drugs that were previously undetectable.

The new type of test is based on the same system already used in drug testing, mass spectrometry, and uses much of the same, already existing, equipment. This means the new tests would be relatively inexpensive to implement.

Mass spectrometry, the method used now, is done by shooting beams of electrons through urine samples and turning atoms in the urine into charged particles. The ions are then weighed using a spectrometer to determine what they are.

The problem with the current method is that many of the atoms produce very weak charges when ionized and are not detected by the spectrometer. The new testing method would have the urine mixed with a chemical that binds with steroids and amphetamines, making them detectable by a spectrometer.

The new test is called paired ion electrospray ionization (PIESI)The method has been used for a few years in environmental testing, but has only recently been adapted to see if it can be used in drug testing athletes.

Researchers who developed the new method say that, depending on the drug, this new method can increase test sensitivity by 10 to 1,000 times. It also greatly increases the amount of time an athlete can test positive for some substances after ingesting them.