The researchers, directed by professors Alberto Fernández Gutiérrez and Antonio Segura Carretero, have designed an optical sensor that allows to determine the presence of propanolol (a beta inhibitor used as a performance-enhancing drug in the so-called precision sports, such as motor racing or archery) in urine.
The main contribution of their research work lies in the precision of this new system, cheaper, more accurate and, above all, faster that the old ones, as it can detect the presence of propanolol in just a few minutes, with an accuracy of 0.2 micrograms per litre.
Beta inhibitors are medicines that regulate the heart pace, slow down the cardiac frequency and stimulate the attention. They cause a reduction and improvement of pulse (reducing trembling), and they also have an anti-stress effect. Some of its undesirable effects are a sensation of permanent fatigue, a drop in arterial tension, muscular cramps, risk of psychical depression and sexual impotence if habitually and repeatedly consumed. Besides propanolol, other beta inhibitors are acebutonol, alprenolol, atenolol, labetalol, metoprolol, nadolol, oxprenolol and sotalol.
Their consumption has been banned by the IOC in precision sports such as chess, motor racing, billiards, bowling, air sports, winter sports (‘freestyle aerials’/’half-pipe’ jumping, ‘snowboard’ and ‘halfpipe/big air’), gymnastics, wrestling, motorcycling, pétanque, modern pentathlon, archery, ‘curling’ and sailing.
The ‘antidopping’ system designed by the scientists of the UGR [http://www.ugr.es] is part of the doctoral thesis ‘Development of fluorescent optosensors for the determination of pharmacological active principles and environmental pollutants in real samples’ [http://www.mcu.es/cgi-bin/TESEO/BRSCGI?CMD=VERDOC&BASE=TSEO&DOCN=000093558], carries out by Jorge F. Fernández Sánchez, another member of the research group which at present keeps on working on this research line.
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