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An abductive inference approach to assess the performance‑enhancing effects of drugs included on the World Anti‑Doping Agency Prohibited List

Breenfeldt Andersen, A, Jacobson, GA ORCID: 0000-0002-3409-8769, Bejder, J, Premilovac, D ORCID: 0000-0003-2770-4713, Richards, SM ORCID: 0000-0002-5988-0423, Rasmussen, JJ, Jessen, S and Hostrup, M 2021 , 'An abductive inference approach to assess the performance‑enhancing effects of drugs included on the World Anti‑Doping Agency Prohibited List' , Sports Medicine , doi: 10.1007/s40279-021-01450-9.

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Some have questioned the evidence for performance-enhancing efects of several substances included on the World AntiDoping Agency’s Prohibited List due to the divergent or inconclusive fndings in randomized controlled trials (RCTs).However, inductive statistical inference based on RCTs-only may result in biased conclusions because of the scarcity ofstudies, inter-study heterogeneity, too few outcome events, or insufcient power. An abductive inference approach, where thebody of evidence is evaluated beyond considerations of statistical signifcance, may serve as a tool to assess the plausibilityof performance-enhancing efects of substances by also considering observations and facts not solely obtained from RCTs.Herein, we explored the applicability of an abductive inference approach as a tool to assess the performance-enhancingefects of substances included on the Prohibited List. We applied an abductive inference approach to make inferences ondebated issues pertaining to the ergogenic efects of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), beta2-agonists and anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), and extended the approach to more controversial drug classes where RCTs are limited.We report that an abductive inference approach is a useful tool to assess the ergogenic efect of substances included on theProhibited List—particularly for substances where inductive inference is inconclusive. Specifcally, a systematic abductiveinference approach can aid researchers in assessing the efects of doping substances, either by leading to suggestions ofcausal relationships or identifying the need for additional research.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Breenfeldt Andersen, A and Jacobson, GA and Bejder, J and Premilovac, D and Richards, SM and Rasmussen, JJ and Jessen, S and Hostrup, M
Keywords: exercise, performance enhancing drugs, sports medicine
Journal or Publication Title: Sports Medicine
Publisher: Adis International Ltd
ISSN: 0112-1642
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s40279-021-01450-9
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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

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