Helping to fight illegal brawn with brains, scientists at Purdue University and Tsinghua University in Beijing have developed a quicker way to screen for performance-enhancing steroids.

The work, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Analytic Chemistry, simplifies the process of checking a sample by using two techniques: reactive desorption electrospray ionization and tandem mass spectrometry. In lab tests, the scientists showed that they could identify the presence of 7 different types of anabolic steroids from a single drop of urine. And they can do this at a rate of nearly one sample per second. Hopefully the development of this new technique is a sign that the cheaters won’t always be a few steps ahead.—Gregory Mone

(Image credit: Zheng Ouyang, Purdue University)