Is sport an art? They are both creative, highly disciplined and play with beauty. But they regard boundaries and rules differently, as their practitioners’ response to the use of drugs shows.

For example, inhaling xenon, mixed with oxygen, is believed to improve stamina because it increases the body’s production of a protein known as hypoxia inducible factor 1. Athletes may be banned while artists may be secretly encouraged.

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In turn this stimulates the production of natural erythropoietin (model below) which regulates the number of red blood cells. The more of these cells, the more oxygen you can carry, and the greater your physical stamina.

250px-Erythropoietin    220px-Lance_Armstrong_2005 Lance Armstrong, 2005

Doping with artificial equivalents of this substance has been one of the biggest threats to the integrity of sport over the past 20 years. The clampdown on using the drug has seen sports scientists develop other methods including the use of xenon and argon.

Artists usually just keep quiet about their use of drugs as this anonymous painter did:

561541197476840   (www.behance.net)

In the 1950s, experiments compared the drawings of an artist before and then one hour after a 50mg dose of LSD

ATdrawing1   ATdrawing6