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The controversial CVAC

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The controversial CVAC - Page 4 Empty The controversial CVAC

Post by hawkeye Thu 04 Feb 2016, 10:43 pm

First topic message reminder :

This recent article about players at the Australian Open using Oxygen chambers is referring not to the CVAC that Djokovic claimed to have used but the less controversial hyperbaric oxygen pods. The article states that Djokovic and other players used these hyperbaric devices whilst at the AO this year.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/tennis-players-get-an-oxygen-fix-1454023796

The article is more than a little confusing however as it appears to imply that these hyperbaric pods are the same as the CVAC and that any controversy over their use is misplaced. But there has been little controversy over the use of hyperbaric pods. They are very different to the CVAC.

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Unlike the increasingly trendy $5,000 hyperbaric chambers many professional athletes use to saturate the blood with oxygen and stimulate healing, the CVAC is a considerably more-ambitious contraption. It uses a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals.

The company claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod three times a week can boost athletic performance by improving circulation, boosting oxygen-rich red-blood cells, removing lactic acid and possibly even stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and stem-cell production.

CVAC Systems chief executive Allen Ruszkowski says the treatment seems to have many of the same effects on the body as intense exercise. He claims that the technology may be twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping—a banned form of performance enhancement.

CVAC's Ruszkowski says a slew of other high-profile athletes use the Pod but often insist the company doesn't tell anyone, "because they feel it's a competitive advantage."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904787404576532854267519860#articleTabs%3Darticle

Of course the CVAC isn't banned but if the claims are correct it may be more advantageous to athletes than banned blood doping

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As the body is tested to its limits, the endurance athlete’s muscles hunger for oxygen, which is carried from the lungs to the muscles by red blood cells.

The more red blood cells available to deliver that oxygen, the higher an athlete’s aerobic capacity becomes, which leads to increased endurance and reduced physical effects of fatigue.

For decades, professional athletes have pursued ways to increase the amount of red blood cells in their bodies, both through methods considered acceptable, and through methods that are banned, including blood doping.

The CVAC chamber, instead of simply simulating a higher altitude, cycles through different altitudes. This has shown to maximize the benefits of altitude training, appearing to provide benefits that not only outweigh traditional altitude training, but also require significant less time spent in the chamber to obtain those benefits.

Indeed, a study conducted at the University of Hawaii showed convincing evidence of increased arterial oxygen saturation in athletes using CVAC for just a few hours per week, as opposed to the many hours traditional altitude training requires to see tangible benefits.

And because of this difference between CVAC and other altitude devices, CVAC walks a fine ethical line.

The World Anti-Doping Agency classifies altitude training in hypoxic chambers as violating the “spirit of sport,” although they are not banned.

In 2006, the WADA considered banning altitude training chambers, but ultimately decided not to add it to their list of banned methods, partly in light of their inability to find a reliable way to test for the usage of those chambers.

“It doesn’t mean we approve it,” head of the WADA, Dick Pound, said at the time.

Despite the WADA’s ongoing concerns about altitude training chambers, testing for usage of these chambers remains virtually impossible, particularly since there is no way to tell whether the increased VO2 max is as a result of training at a high altitude or as a result of sitting in an altitude training device.

And despite CVAC’s differences with traditional altitude training, there is no evidence that CVAC usage can be specifically detected in an athlete.

Even more sophisticated tests are likely incapable of detecting the usage of CVAC, including the biological passport, a test of biological markers over time used in other endurance sports.

There are a lot more athletes using CVAC than people know about. None of these athletes have ever been suspected of doping after they did the urine and blood tests. Before they did the urine and blood tests, their performance improved so much they were suspected, but after they did the blood tests, there was never any concern.”

http://www.dropshotdispatch.com/2011/10/13/djokovics-cvac-conundrum-djokovics-controversial-training-method-examined/

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I have a few questions. First of all the difference between hyperbaric pods and hypoxic pods (the CVAC) should be made clear. They are very different and it's the latter that is controversial. If this device is more effective than blood doping and has been judged to be against the spirit of the sport then it's difficult to understand why it's use is not banned. The only reason why it's not being banned appears to be because it's impossible to detect. If the CVAC can improve performance more than banned procedures or drugs then blood and urine tests are now obsolete.

NB. Please read the full articles I have provided links to. They are interesting.

hawkeye

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Post by lydian Wed 10 Feb 2016, 8:56 am

Eh? What's unfair....? Slightly?
I haven't said Djokovic is doping. I've simply laid out a case why CVACs/tents/chambers are dodgy and should be banned from use because of their masking potential. Djokovic gets mentioned because he's been using chambers, but let me be clear its not to state he's doping. He's just an example someone using the chamber.
But sure lets explore what WADA or ITF are doing about this...what are they doing?
lydian
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Post by socal1976 Wed 10 Feb 2016, 9:54 am

lydian wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
lydian wrote:I think we're on the same page vs. variety in the game...slow & fast surfaces...which places differing demands on a tennis player's skillset. Back in the day we marvelled at Borg being able to outlast most guys at the French and then also use incredible dexterity and speed at Wimbledon. Now every slam & event uses the same baseline driven approach - which clearly benefits every player who has a conditioning edge. Now don't get me wrong, an edge of that nature is arguably as much a talent as hitting a clean winner down the line...Borg is a point in case. Amazing genetics. However, conditioning is a "talent" that can be - and of course has been - enhanced. This edge will always continue to be a key driver when the game relies more on conditioning vis-a-vis ubiquitous slow surfaces that promote ralleying. That's the bottom line here and we know this situation has a double knock-on effect of squeezing out a (large?) portion of the younger talents too.

But back to CVAC/tents/eggs/chambers - hypo and hyper, etc...they're all actually similar in many respects...just that CVAC is meant to be the best of the best. I'll state again, these devices are dodgy and against the spirit of sport in my opinion. Why? Because Lance Armstrong himself stated in his legal deposition that he was encouraged to use hypoxic chambers/tents (same as CVAC...they are hypoxic too) under Dr. Ferrari's recommendations as a MASK for EPO use. He wasn't really interested in the tent, it just allowed him to illicitly micro-use EPO to achieve the boosts he needed given the authorities would be unable to tell whether his boosted EPO levels were natural or unnatural. This is clearly stated as a key reason in how he got away with EPO boosting for years.

http://www.dropshotdispatch.com/2012/10/11/usadas-lance-armstrong-report-suggests-hypoxic-chambers-can-fool-epo-tests/
In the USADA affidavit is the statement: "Ferrari’s explanation was that ‘the altitude tent would boost the natural production of EPO and throw off the EPO test.’"

So Lord knows how many other cyclists and sportspeople have used this masking method given as mentioned that Lance didn't just learn to do this himself...it was a systematic policy adopted through dodgy doctors and scientists who knew how the altitude devices worked and how you could artificially boost EPO whilst using them. So the problem for sports at large is that every top-end athlete who uses these devices will almost CERTAINLY know they can be used as an OPTION to mask EPO use. Therefore, we simply don't know who has done this.

I guess sometimes you can see when something weird is going on by looking at an athletes track record to observe any clear sea-changes in their results which break them from the pack. Just look at Lance, he started using EPO around mid-90s. His results went from WD (withdrew), WD, 36th, WD - then missed a year - to coming 1st 7 times on the bounce! He used the tents to dodge the EPO tests as they got more sophisticated in the 2000s. So whilst I wish that everyone could use the tents/chambers to make it a level playing field again, I actually fear that it will only allow more athletes to abuse them as EPO masking devices. That's my real beef - each and every athlete who uses has the option of artificial boosting their EPO.

My problem with the masking argument is this. On one hand you guys argue that it is twice as effective as EPO. We know it is legal and chemically less invasive. It is also cheaper than EPO. So if it is this wonder far superior to EPO with all these benefits and legal and untestable no athlete in his right mind would ever EPO and they would use the CVAC. I mean even if the CVAC gave you 85 percent or 90 percent of EPOs effects then based on the hugely less downside of CVAC an EPO user would be an idiot equivalent to the guy who tries to use a shotgun to open a can of beans instead of a can opener. Both will work but one is hugely less risky. Now you guys say its 200 percent more effective, Ill clue you in I tried it and it is pretty damn good. So if that is the case the could be the cure to chemical EPO that is way shadier. Where you deal with people like gym drug dealers and crooked docs. This thing I went to was in a chiropractors office. And the guy had no business, which is odd if it is quite as good as has been made out to be. But I do agree it does have positive results.


This whole post is based on a false premise. CVAC may be effective...100%...200%...vs EPO who knows...but given Armstrong slept in one EVERY night - not for 30 mins per day like the CVAC...then I'm judging the addition of EPO on TOP of the hypoxic tent/benefit means that the artificial intake can seriously boost the amount of EPO created by the chambers. it must have been significant or Armstrong wouldn't have bothered. Likewise with CVAC I'm betting an athlete could still inject a lot of EPO on top and get a massive accumulative benefit. It's not mutually exclusive that they do the tent/chamber/egg and nothing else.

You also mention they can't carry a CVAC around with them...of course not. But do we know what they're doing now...would Djokovic or anyone else admit to sleeping in an hypoxic tent every night or even very regularly if not every night? Of course they wouldn't after all this stuff from Armstrong came out. We simply don't know, and we don't know who uses the tents as a mask for further, and much higher injections of EPO...but you can bet someone will be doing so.

Finally, this isn't about Nadal fans vs. Djokovic fans...I was pushing this angle 2-3 years ago when Djokovic was nowhere near Nadal's slam count. There have been loads of discussions about PEDs and other unfair performance advantages but this device to me is as clear as day a bad thing for sport because of the masking option. After all, and again, even though Armstrong slept in a hypoxic tent every night (as did Phelps pre OG2012 for 12 months...!) why did he also juice on artificial EPO if the nightly tent was enough? The answer is obviously because it wasn't.

1. the Doctor was not talking about CVAC but a different procedure

2. His advice was proven wrong as Armstrong got caught. So your entire case rests on 15 year old statement about the technology of the time which proved that this stuff ISN'T actually a very effective masking device because the person given this advice was caught

3. Testing methods have advanced since 2001 so what this doctor said in 2001, which proved inaccurate then is probably even more inaccurate today

4. Again if this method is 200 percent better than blood doping and legal it will cut demand for the more dangerous, less effective, and more expensive blood doping you will eliminate some if not much of the demand for EPO. You claim it is a false premise again using Lance Armstrong but we have no evidence that LA used CVAC and blood doped. And neither you nor or I can predict how athletes in tennis would react to a natural product that is legal and gives much of the same if not more benefit.

Again this is what I mean, innuendo, just bring up LA even though there is no evidence CVAC was even around back then or LA used it . Its a very specious argument that hangs on 15 year old statement from a doctor which was proven to not be as effective a masking agent as claimed. And of course BB jumps in and says well "it doesn't look good if LA was doing it" No he wasn't he was sleeping in a oxygen tent, not using CVAC and the so called masking agent didn't work for long. Like I said you made this point earlier I found it totally unpersuasive and find it more so the second time. So again back to talking around each other because you didn't address my criticisms of your point before and I doubt you will take them into consideration now.

At the end of the day I am done defending Novak for something that is legal. Funny many Nadal fans begrudge Novak his CVAC while Nadal's legs and body are a testament to the marvels of modern surgical science, but air pressure and oxygen now there is something fishy about that. You guys don't like CVAC that is fine. I don't like men wearing open toed shoes anywhere but at the beach and the pool, unfortunately both activities are legal.

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Post by lydian Wed 10 Feb 2016, 11:29 am

This isn't about Novak...or open toed sandals...lol...how many more times!
Your post isn't accurate on a number of levels and I've addressed all your points. You swear blind these devices aren't an issue for the very thing you accuse Nadal fans of...fandom!! Can't you see the irony?
Armstrong didn't get "caught"...again, that's the irony of the situation. The masking approach worked fine. He was the subject of whistleblowers who called him out, then USADA raised a case. That's very different.
CVAC is a hypoxic approach, the same as Armstrong used. It's just more advanced in varying pressures rapidly. Yes it probably causes a faster release of EPO vs the tent Armstrong used, but I imagine nightly use would equate over time.
My beef - and I repeat again - it not about Djokovic, nor am I accusing him of doping - are we clear on that? But this device because of its masking option is a clear concern re: any sportsperson using them in the eyes of the public because of previous bad PR around Armstrong. Indeed any sportsperson using one thereby and inadvertently opens themselves up to scrutiny, you can see that right? I can't make it clearer than that.
Anyway, let's move on...points made all round...we'll see what develops from WADA and ITF, probably nothing because they don't know what to do.
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