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IAAF accused of suppressing athletes’ doping study

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New York, The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been accused of blocking a study which showed as many as a third of the world’s top athletes violating anti-doping rules.

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The University of Tubingen in Germany is reported to have said that the IAAF blocked publication of the study, Sunday Times reported on Saturday.

Hundreds of athletes apparently told researchers in 2011 that they had cheated.

The IAAF said discussions were going on about the report’s publication.

In a statement to the newspaper, the university said: “The study is an independently initiated scientific research project and was not commissioned by the IAAF. The IAAF’s delaying publication for so long without good reason is a serious encroachment on the freedom of publication.”

The governing body responded saying: “Discussions are ongoing with the research team and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency – the other partner in the project) regarding publication of the study.”

Four years ago, a team of academic researchers interviewed hundreds of athletes at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. The Sunday Times reported the study concluded that 29 to 34 percent of the 1,800 competitors at the championships had violated anti-doping rules.

It said that a month after collecting the information, the researchers were told to sign a confidentiality agreement to prevent them speaking out about the admissions.

A leaked copy of the full study has been seen by the Sunday Times. “These findings demonstrate that doping is remarkably widespread among elite athletes, and remains largely unchecked despite current biological testing programs,” the newspaper concluded.

The findings are similar to the newspaper’s revelations a fortnight ago after it obtained access to the results of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes.

Two leading anti-doping experts found that, between 2001 and 2012, a third of medals, including 55 golds, were won in endurance events in the Olympics and World Championships by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests.

(IANS)

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Study Says, Excess Physical Activity Can Be Harmful for Athletes

The researchers believe that fatigue and reduced cognitive control might also constitute the first stage in the development of a "burnout syndrome"

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Athletes
This excessive physical activity in Athletes leads to reduced activity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for cognitive control), similar to that observed during mental effort. Pixabay

Researchers have found that, in top Athletes, excess physical activity could be harmful and also associated with major fatigue and reduced performances.

The study published in the journal Current Biology shows that intensive physical training could harm brain capacity, particularly cognitive control.

For the findings, Mathias Pessiglione and his team from Inserm Research Institute in France said that they were interested in identifying the causes of a common phenomenon in top athletes, known as “overtraining syndrome”.

This was characterised by reduced athletic performance and intense fatigue.

Athletes suffering from this syndrome might be tempted by products likely to restore their performance.

The primary hypothesis of the researchers were clear: the fatigue caused by overtraining is similar to that caused by mental efforts.

To test this idea, the team spent nine weeks working with 37 triathletes, who were split into two groups.

The first underwent the “usual” high-level training whereas the second had additional training during the last three weeks of the experiment, with sessions lasting 40 per cent longer, on average.

From this, the researchers were able to identify similarities between overly intensive physical training and excessive mental work.

Athletes
Researchers have found that, in top Athletes, excess physical activity could be harmful and also associated with major fatigue and reduced performances. Pixabay

This excessive physical activity leads to reduced activity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for cognitive control), similar to that observed during mental effort.

This reduction in brain activity was associated with impulsive decision-making, in which short-term gratification was prioritised over long-term goals.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why Shaking Head To Remove Water From Ears Can Cause Brain Damage

In the case of top athletes, being this impulsive could lead to their decision to stop right in the middle of a performance or to abandon a race in order to end the pain felt during physical exertion.

The researchers believe that fatigue and reduced cognitive control might also constitute the first stage in the development of a “burnout syndrome”, which affects many people across various professional sectors. (IANS)