Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gene Doping

Yesterday, I interviewed for The Kojo Nnamdi Show (Washington, USA) on the subject of gene doping. It was one of the more interesting, on-air debates I have had on this subject and we covered a lot of ground. Other guests included:

Dr. Gary Wadler, Sports physician, clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University and expert on sports doping

Richard Pound, Chairman, World Anti-Doping Agency

Jose Canseco, Former all-star baseball player and author of the book “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big”

Osagie Obasogie, Project Director on Race, Disability, and Eugenics, Center for Genetics and Society.

It was particularly nice to debate with Gary Wadler and Richard Pound whom I have not met in person. It appeared to me that the gene doping debate is a rich subject for society, in part for the reasons i have argued elsewhere. It does seem to provoke alarm bells which suggest that more is at stake than the usual concerns surrounding doping. Genetic science and technology does not have the same connotations for people as drug use.

This is quite useful from my perspective because it could yield a new kind of debate about doping and even transform the way in which anti-doping takes place.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bioethics in Barcelona

Before I forget, I must mention something about the Barcelona meeting (Ethics and Philosophy of Emerging Medical Technologies, Institut Borja de Bioetica, Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain), since sport appeared in a good handful of papers including:

Keynote paper on Therapy and Enhancement
Professor Ruth Chadwick

Argued in favour of the term 'improvement' rather than enhancement, as a basis for characterising the ethical issues arising from emerging technologies.

Ethical norms for research on biomedical enhancement susing human subjects
Professor Max Mehlman

Max has written considerably on genetic enhancement and regularly uses sport as a case study in his work. The military was also a theme and there are some great analogies between sport and the military.

Honorary session for Lennart Nordernfelt

Thomas Schramme developed a case to inquire into the concept of 'health' the focus of this session and a tribute to Nordenfelt who gave an introduction and reply. Schramme's case discussed Lily, an athlete who wanted to jump 2m. He argued that Nordernfelt's work would argue that her inability to jump this high would qualify as failing to meet a vital goal and that, therefore, we could characterise it as an illness that should be alleviated by medicine. In short, we would characterise her less than healthy.

Schramme rejected the idea that this inability should be characterised as an illness and rejected the idea that the realisation of all vital goals falls within the proper role of medcine. Nordenfelt agreed with Schramme's conclusion, but did not accept that Lily's interest to jump 2m could be described as a vital goal. Being the best is not a reasonable expectation, but being good is.

Athlete or Guinea Pig? Sports and Enhancement Research
Nancy M.P. King and Richard Robeson

Argued that medicine for the athlete should be characterised as enhancement research, but currently it is not. This led to some interesting debates about whether sport technology should go through a more rigorous liability check and whether this should be connected to anti-doping policy. I argue for this in my 2005 piece in the European Journal of Sport Science, though their emphasis is on medical procedures. I wonder whether blood spinning might fall within this category.

Finally, there was my wee paper

Posthuman Medicine & Imagined Ethics
Developed posthuman theory in relation to transhumanism and cyborgology and subsequently argued for the need to consider imagined ethical issues. Used the gene doping case as an example of an 'imagined ethical' debate.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Is 'Gene Doping' Wrong?

This is the title of an article I recently published with Project Syndicate. Rather than repeat the entire article here, I will just paste links to its various translations:

Is 'Gene Doping' Wrong? (English, by Andy Miah)

¿Es inaceptable el “dopaje genético”? (Spanish, Translated by
Carlos Manzano)

Что плохого в «генетическом допинге»? (Russian, Translated by
Николай Жданович)

Faut-il condamner le dopage génétique ? (French, Translated by Bérengère Viennot)

Ist „Gendoping“ verwerflich? (German, Translated by Anke Püttmann)

Je „genetický doping“ nesprávný? (Czech, Translated by Jiří Kobělka)

“基因兴奋剂”错了吗? (Chinese, Translated by 许彬彬)

هل "تنشيط الجينات" خطأ؟
(Arabic, Translated by Ibrahim M. Ali