Saturday, August 05, 2006

LNDD Director Makes False Claims About IRMS

The director of the LNDD, the lab where Landis tested positive has apparently issued a false claim about the accuracy of the isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) test. LNDD head Jacques De Ceaurriz said the isotope testing procedure was "foolproof," adding that "no error is possible in isotopic readings." (source)

While the IRMS is a definitive test certainly, unlike the T/E ratio test, it is subject like every scientific test to various errors and mistake. While the likelihood of error from the IRMS test is, if properly performed, dramatically lower than that from the T/E ratio, that likelihood is most certainly not zero.

It should naturally be asked why the director of a scientific lab would make false claims that any scientist could see through. One should hope that we are not seeing in action another abuse of an American coming out of a French lab with a history of unethical practices. The LNDD lab is the same that unfairly targeted former Tour champion Lance Armstrong according to the UCI in a report issued in March.

10 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

This is could be political posturing or it could be just run of the mill arrogance. It is not uncommon to find scientists who talk like this unfortunately.

5:07 PM  
Blogger webelieve said...

It's really hard for the average person to figure out what's going on. Maybe the cycling world is so paranoid about the use of "drugs" that it's going off balance and just freaking out about the possibility of drug use. But that's not fair to Floyd or anyone else. Floyd is supposed to get the opportunity of a review with the U.S. cycling organization. This whole story has seemed to be off-balance since it was "leaked" a week ago that Floyd had tested positive for something. I think the situation makes everyone look suspect.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

webelieve, the average person's difficulty is why I'm writing this blog. in between the severely incomplete news coverage and the too-too complete & complex scientific & organizational details there's this blog. I'm confident that the average person, if given the right facts, can actually fill in the blanks left by the media and begin to understand.

Everyone does look suspect: Landis, Team Phonak, the LNDD, the UCI, Tour officials, and so forth.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

Robert, actually my experience is different. If a scientist talked like that s/he would have his head handed to him. Saying something like that is akin to claiming the earth is flat. Even the scientists who can put on a show are reluctant to talk that way. Claiming something is "free from error"?

9:07 AM  
Blogger flapzilla said...

I laughed out loud when I read that quote. It’s so ludicrous that it’s awesome. Unfortunately, though scientists might be able to see through such a blatantly false statement, not everyone’s familiar with the nature of analytical testing procedures. Several of my friends believed him. Right or wrong, it's convincing.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Free Floyd said...

exactly flapzilla, exactly.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

"...a French lab with a history of unethical practices."

This is the issue I haven't seen anyone pursue. When this whole Landis doping issue arose, the first thing I thought was, "Is this the same lab that screwed the pooch with Armstrong's doping allegation?"

Given this lab's recent history, it's beyond me why no one is insisting that another independent lab get involved. I have no idea how it all works, but I'm assuming the entire urine sample is not desroyed by a single test. So, why not insist on further sample testing? If multiple, independent labs produce the same results, I'll buy it. But, this one lab in France? No. They've already shown they're unreliable.

4:26 AM  
Blogger David said...

I'm intrigued by the possibility that the synthetic cortisone Landis took was converted by his body into a "natural" testosterone that would test "artificial" by the isotope test.

The liver partially recycles the steroid hormones through the enterohepatic circulation, so it is possible. Also, synthetic thyroid hormone can get in this circulation as well. By this theory, an isotope test performed on earlier samples would also be positive for "synthetic" testosterone. While this would not eliminate the possibility that Landis was cheating all along, it would refute the idea that he took a one-time injection before stage 17. Conversely, if only the stage 17 test showed altered isotopes, that would eliminate a pure natural variant, and leave only cheating and tampering as explanations.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

What's more believable? That Landis took a one off injection of a substance which has virtually no performance enhancement capablities when used in single doses?

OR

A lab with credibility problems, reported an early finding which got leaked into the press with little detail attached to it. Realising that a false positive could cause further damage to their reputation and more importantly, their bottom line, decided to 'ensure' that their clarification was beyond Landis' explanation. (It's worth noting that Landis gave reasonable explanations for possible elevated, natural levels and then further evidence was released to the press which put this possibility out of question.)
The best sign of ethical conduct is when you see people and or organisations go out of their way to ensure there is no conflict of interest. I've seen very little activity to indicate that the french lab, WADA, or the UCI have done much to ensure reasonable and ethical behavior in this or any other doping situation. The one thing that works in their favour is that they are consistently unethical.

8:27 AM  
Blogger tom said...

The French hate American successes! They tried to shed doubt on Armstrong's accomplishments, but he was to aggressive and attacked their credibility from the onset. I think that Floyd has been caught off guard, and he also isn't nearly aggresive as Lance. Hopefully, he'll reach a point were he can take the offensive and get a fair shake in the court of public opinion; after all, the French don't really care about integrity- they only care about preserving their posterity!

11:04 AM  

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