How reliable is the TW3 test for age verification?


By: PTI | New Delhi |

Published: August 7, 2020 6:00:05 pm





Age fraud AITA has introduced introduction of TW3 test to sort out the menace of age fraud in the sport. (Representational picture)

The nationwide tennis federation AITA has introduced introduction of TW3 test to sort out the menace of age fraud in the sport however specialists have spelled out the limitations of the in style methodology and advised adoption of extra reliable strategies like the FELS methodology and “epigenetic clock”.

The specialists are divided on utilizing the Tanner Whitehouse 3 (TW3) methodology but it surely is largely believed, even by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), that it is inconclusive.

However, because it is broadly used and thought of certainly one of the correct strategies, main sports activities federations in the nation together with the BCCI, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) topic the gamers to TW3 test.

What is TW3 test?

Assessment of skeletal maturity are constituted of handwrist radiographs, utilizing both the methodology of Greulich-Pyle (GP), Tanner-Whitehouse (TW) or FELS methodology.

The Blood samples, Ultrasound, and MRI are non-radiation strategies however they too aren’t adequate in response to IOC.

The TW3 methodology makes use of X-Rays of the left hand and wrist to look at the skeletal maturity of an individual to find out their bone age.

In wrist scans, age is estimated by 20 or so bones initially separated by cartilage, however which progressively transfer nearer to 1 one other till they fuse in the mature wrist.

One of the causes for utilizing left hand and wrist radiographs is that most individuals are right-handed, and due to this fact, the proper hand is extra more likely to be injured than the left hand.

Arguments in favour

Dr Sunita Kalyanpur and her Radiologist husband Arjun Kalyanpur, who carried out the TW3 checks on about 3000 footballers for the AIFF, admit that it’s not 100 p.c correct however asserted that it’s very near figuring out the precise age.

“The technology has changed drastically in the last few years. We use a Danish software. The process is much more refined. It takes less than a minute and there is no risk to the child. Earlier the gap with the actual age was up to four years but it’s hardly 6 to 9 months now. TW3 is the most accurate method,” Arjun stated.

However, specialists say that chronological age might be totally different from the organic age by as a lot as 2-Three years, whichever methodology is used.

Explained | The how and why of age fraud and verification

“The little one who is an early developer might look biologically 16 years outdated though she or he could also be simply 13 or 14 years outdated. Research has proven that in crew sports activities, kids who’re greater and stronger usually tend to be chosen and on testing are invariably biologically extra mature.

“This means that the late developers are less likely to be chosen as they are usually smaller and weaker even though all differences will be equalised when they are fully mature,” stated Amanda Johnson, who labored as a physio with the Manchester United Football Club (MUFC).

Amanda additionally defined that MUFC had carried out a examine to analyze the variations between skeletal and chronological age.

“The study found that around 30% of players are either late or early developers, suggesting that many players undergoing training in age-defined groups might not benefit optimally from prescribed training regimens.”

Amanda recommends that extra competitions needs to be launched in the junior ranks which take into account Bio-banding the place gamers compete towards one another as per their physique weight and potential measurement.

“This method has been successfully introduced by the Premier League in several junior tournaments. The taller and stronger players compete against their matching rivals and it’s a battle between equals.”

She additionally strongly advisable that if skeletal X-rays are for use for age willpower, they need to be assessed utilizing the FELS approach. In this methodology, skeletal maturity indicators are measured (58 binary indicators, 27 ordinal indicators and 13 steady measures).

IOC on the concern

The IOC in its consensus assertion (June, 2010) on age willpower in high-level younger athletes had stated, “The onset and rate of growth and maturation varies widely between individuals during adolescence, and consequently the maturational status of children of the same age also differs.”

“… the assessment of skeletal age by X-ray scanning is limited and does not allow a precise determination of the chronological age. Variations up to several years in bone age have been observed in adolescents of the same chronological age.”

Other view

Sports Medicine skilled Dr Saranjeet Singh, based mostly in Lucknow, stated ‘epigenetic clock’ is a greater methodology for figuring out the age of a person.

“In the epigenetic clock method we look at molecular markers called methyl groups that can get added or removed from DNA. The study of these and similar DNA markers is called epigenetics and is currently a very new and active field of study,” Singh stated.

“It seems that a few of these methylation websites can steadily accumulate or lower in particular methods as an individual ages. This can be utilized as an ‘epigenetic clock’.

“In a recent breakthrough, biomarkers of ageing based on DNA methylation data have enabled accurate age estimates for any tissue across the entire life course. These ‘epigenetic clocks’ link developmental and maintenance processes to biological ageing, giving rise to a unified theory of life course.”

However, the DNA methylation test value varies, from Rs 14,000 to 18000, which is far more than the TW3 which might value no more than Rs 2000.

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