The DREAM Gene: Reducing Exercise-Induced Pain Sensations Using Gene Transfer (2010)


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Miah, A. (2010) The DREAM Gene: Reducing Exercise-Induced Pain Sensations Using Gene Transfer. For Sands, R. and Moore, P. Anthropology of Sport and Human Movement. Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, pp.327-34.  

"Understanding the complexity of the distinction between therapy and enhancement requires taking to task the ethical assumptions about each. This is why the discussion has focused mainly on the ethical status of therapeutic technology in sport. While it can be argued that the capacity to endure pain in sport is medically unconscionable, its tolerance has a symbolic and functional status that challenges the idea that athletes would willingly use this technology to enhance their performance. Such use would be conceptually different from, say, using hormone therapy to build muscle mass. On this basis, whereas it has been commonplace for anti-doping rhetoric to condemn enhancement and embrace therapeutic medicine, this distinction underestimates the complexity of both terms and the inadequacy of basing an ethical distinction on their assumed characteristics. DREAM manipulation problematises what constitutes an ethical performance in sport. It brings into question what values underpin sport and the medical principles on which antidoping codes have been based, which lead to making such distinctions as that made between therapy and enhancement. Moreover, it raises the question about what sporting authorities are trying to protect when they base arguments against doping on the well-being of athletes. Importantly, the value of this distinction is asserted largely from the medical side of sport. Sport has a legitimate interest in performance enhancement and it is widely understood that the only obstacle to athletes using any biochemical method of performance enhancements is the ethical permissibility of the technology. It has been argued here that pain tolerance does not contribute to establishing who is the better athlete and, for this reason, technology that can equalise this human characteristic would be a desirable innovation for competition"