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Tue, Feb 11

Breathe it in: An obscure gas improves athletes’ performance

XENON is one of the shyest members of the periodic table of the elements. Chemically, it is almost inert, and physically, it makes up only 0.000009% of the atmosphere, so it is not surprising that it was among the last of the naturally occurring elements to be identified, in 1898… Xenon’s protective and EPO-boosting properties mean it is being investigated as a treatment for babies whose brains have accidentally been starved of oxygen during birth, and of adults who have had heart attacks. But it is also, in Russia, being used as a way to improve athletic performance. Read more.