Sue Nelson digs out her O-Level chemistry notes to get to grips with a chemical subtlety - Isomers. Isomers are chemicals that are made up of the same atoms, but arranged differently.
There are some famous examples of isomers. Alain Baxter, the British Skier, won a bronze medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics but had it taken away when he tested positive for methamphetamine in his urine sample. Methamphetamine has two forms - two isomers. One is a stimulant that could have enhanced his performance, the other form, the mirror image of the first, is used in the US version of Vicks Inhaler, and is a decongestant. Alain had been using a Vicks Inhaler and so had not had any benefit of a stimulant, just an effective decongestant for his bunged up nose.
Sue Nelson discovers other isomers that we need to be aware of and how they can be helpful in the drugs industry.