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The following electronic only articles are published in conjunction with this issue of BJSM (see also pages 189 and 216)

Effect of fluid ingestion on neuromuscular function during prolonged cycling exercise

J-M Vallier, F Grego, F Basset, et al

Objectives: To investigate the effects of fluid ingestion on neuromuscular function during prolonged cycling exercise.

Methods: Eight well trained subjects exercised for 180 minutes in a moderate environment at a workload requiring ∼60% maximal oxygen uptake. Two conditions, fluid (F) and no fluid (NF) ingestion, were investigated.

Results: During maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC), prolonged cycling exercise reduced (p<0.05) the maximal force generating capacity of quadriceps muscles (after three hours of cycling) and root mean square (RMS) values (after two hours of cycling) with no difference between the two conditions despite greater body weight loss (p<0.05) in NF. The mean power frequency (MPF) for vastus lateralis muscle was reduced (p<0.05) and the rate of force development (RFD) was increased (p<0.05) only during NF. During cycling exercise, integrated electromyographic activity and perceived exertion were increased in both conditions (p<0.05) with no significant effect of fluid ingestion.

Conclusions: The results suggest that fluid ingestion did not prevent the previously reported decrease in maximal force with exercise duration, but seems to have a positive effect on some indicators of neuromuscular fatigue such as mean power frequency and rate of force development during maximal voluntary contraction. Further investigations are needed to assess the effect of change in hydration on neural mechanisms linked to the development of muscular fatigue during prolonged exercise.

(Br J Sports Med 2005;39:e17)

Drug use in English professional football

I Waddington, D Malcolm, M Roderick, et al

Objectives: To examine several issues related to drug use in English professional football. More particularly the project sought to gather data on: players’ use of permitted supplements (mineral and vitamin pills and creatine); whether they sought advice, and if so from whom, about their use of supplements; their experience of and attitudes towards drug testing; their views on the extent of the use of banned performance enhancing and recreational drugs in football; and their personal knowledge of players who used such drugs.

Methods: With the cooperation of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), reply paid postal questionnaires were delivered to the home addresses of all 2863 members of the PFA. A total of 706 questionnaires were returned, a response rate of just under 25%.

Results: Many players use supplements, although almost one in five players does so without seeking qualified professional advice from anyone within the club. Blood tests are rarely used to monitor the health of players. One third of players had not been tested for drugs within the preceding two years, and 60% felt that they were unlikely to be tested in the next year. The use of performance enhancing drugs appears to be rare, although recreational drugs are commonly used by professional footballers: 6% of respondents indicated that they personally knew players who used performance enhancing drugs, and 45% of players knew players who used recreational drugs.

Conclusions: There is a need to ensure that footballers are given appropriate advice about the use of supplements in order to minimise the risk of using supplements that may be contaminated with banned substances. Footballers are tested for drugs less often than many other elite athletes. This needs to be addressed. The relatively high level of recreational drug use is not reflected in the number of positive tests.

This suggests that many players who use recreational drugs avoid detection. It also raises doubts about the ability of the drug testing programme to detect the use of performance enhancing drugs.

(Br J Sports Med 2005;39:e18)

Linked Articles

  • Miscellanea
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Miscellanea
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Electronic pages
    J-M Vallier F Grego F Basset R Lepers T Bernard J Brisswalter
  • Electronic pages
    I Waddington D Malcolm M Roderick R Naik