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Sport and Medicine, The Lancet

This week, the leading medical journal, The Lancet, Published a special supplement on sport and medicine. Its contents include a number of ethical commentaries including:

Essay: Prosthetics for athletes
McCarvill S
pages S10-S11

Feature: Gene doping
Pincock S
pages S18-S19

Viewpoint: Legalisation of performance-enhancing drugs
Kayser B, Mauron A, Miah A
page S21

Essay: Transsexual athletes—when is competition fair?
Ljungqvist A, Genel M
pages S42-S43

Making Sports Virtual

How long will it be before we ditch the sports arena and compete as athletes - or view as spectators - within an entirely virtual reality? This is the subject of a new book I am writing for The MIT Press, tentatively titled 'CyberSport: Digital Games, Ethics and Cultures'. It will be written with a colleague of mine in Australia, Dr Dennis Hemphill. The subject of this book will feature in a Sky One (television) production to be broadcast on December 2 in the United Kingdom. The programme is about sport and technology generally, and it rounds off with a segment about the prospect of making sports virtual.

This project develops some thoughts that have been hanging around for the last five years. An early example of how they work out can be found in this piece:

Miah, A. (2002) Immersion and Abstraction in Virtual Sport, Research in Philosophy and Technology, 21, 225-233

Andy MIah Sky One Documentary on Digital Technology and Sport (2005, Dec)

Doping & the Child

In April this year, I published a brief commentary about the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on performance-enhancing drugs in sport. This commentary was extended and published in the Sept 10 issue of The Lancet. Full reference as follows: Miah, A. (2005, Sept 10). "Doping and the child: an ethical policy for the vulnerable." The Lancet 366: 874-876.

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

Vol 7 of C@tO

Volume 7 of Culture at the Olympics has just been published. The contents are proceedings from a symposium that took place at University of Glasgow in June 2005, in association with London 2012. Contents as follows:

7.1 Exploring Internationalism: Scotland responds to London's Olympic Vision for Culture in 2012 pp1-8
7.2 Welcome Presentation, pp.9-11 by Professor Adrienne Scullion
7.3 Special Address, pp.12-16 by Patricia Ferguson, Member of Scottish Parliament
7.4 Olympism and Internationalism, pp.17-23 by Jude Kelly, Chair Culture & Education, London 2012
7.5 Culture at the Olympics: Intangible, invisible, but impacting, pp.24-34 by Beatriz Garcia & Andy Miah
[Also access the powerpoint presentation in pdf (8mb)]
7.6 Discussion Session [transcript], pp.35-55 edited by Beatriz Garcia

More on Genetic Tests for Performance

A few months ago, I posted on the use of genetic tests in the AFL. Since my very first talk about genomics and sport in 1999 at the First International Conference on Human Rights and Sport, I have been arguing on this subject. In 2003, the Australian Law Reforms Commission wrote about the potential for discrimination arising from genetic tests in sport. This issue has arisen again in the context of the Australian Football League. Reports indicate that Port Adelaide and Essendon are considering the use of genetic tests to 'predict' the capacity of 'natural physical attributes'. The Age (Sydney) reported that each test would cost around AU$750 and AFL Players' Association president, Brendon Gale, has argued that such tests would be contrary to privacy laws in Australia. This issues seems about to, ahem, 'kick off' in Australia and few other countries have yet to really think it through.

Certainly, employment law might be a reasonable avenue for action within the UK, though where this takes place with young athletes, it seems likely to fall within the realm of parental consent.

Some of this relates to a piece I published a few years ago on this subject:

Miah, A. (2001) Genetics, Law & Athletes' Rights, Sports Law Bulletin 4(5), pp.10-12 Available here:

The Public Autopsy

Miah, A. (2004). "The Public Autopsy: Somewhere Between Art, Education and Entertainment." Journal of Medical Ethics 30: 576-579. Miah, A. (2003). "Dead Bodies for the Masses: The British Public Autopsy & the Aftermath" CTHEORY E119

In November 2002, Gunter von Hagens conducted a public autopsy in London, UK. Legally, it was all a bit suspect, but it was a fascinating event. This media moment took place soon after von Hagens had exhibited his plastinated bodies in the UK.

Since then, he has presented a series of programmes on UK TV called 'Anatomy for Beginners', which was considerably more professional and valuable, as an indication of what medicine does. However, the entire process relies on his technological method of plastination, so identifying the realness of the process is no easy task.