February 23, 2024


Health is wealth

The 100 Most Influential Studies in Sports Medicine

6 min read

One particular evaluate of the effects of a scientific concept is how often it gets cited by other scientists. The top-cited paper of all time, according to a 2014 investigation by Nature, has now been cited by 344,007 other scientific articles or blog posts given that its publication in 1951. (The subject matter? You’d in no way guess, for factors we’ll get into down below.) Researchers’ position prospective customers are affected by their h-index, a evaluate that benefits owning a significant selection of seriously cited papers (and most likely, even though no just one would really admit it, by their Kardashian index, which compares their cumulative citations to the selection of Twitter followers they have).

You can also use similar approaches to review overall fields, which is what a new examine led by Omeet Khatra of the University of British Columbia tries for sports and workout drugs. In the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports activities Drugs, Khatra and his colleagues place with each other a listing of the one hundred articles or blog posts with the most citations in the field, offering a snapshot of the impact of each specific papers and broader developments. There are a bunch of exciting results, but most likely the most telling is this: only just one of the one hundred papers is a randomized controlled demo, which is the gold-normal variety of experimental proof.

The Area

One particular key caveat for this investigation is that the boundaries of sports and workout drugs are rather hazy. Khatra’s definition incorporates controlling sports accidents, improving athletic efficiency, and the use of workout to increase overall health. That’s really broad, but the process made use of to discover top papers was a small extra idiosyncratic. They began by identifying a listing of 46 journals focused on sports and workout drugs, and then recognized the one hundred most-cited articles or blog posts from inside all those journals.

That indicates substantial papers published in non-expert journals don’t show up on the listing. A.V. Hill’s initial 1923 study on VO2 max was published in the Quarterly Journal of Drugs Karlman Wasserman’s 1964 paper on the anaerobic threshold was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. In reality, you’d count on that the most floor-breaking results are the most most likely to make it into generalist journals like Nature and Science (where, for example, a vintage 1937 paper on the aerobic ability of globe file-location runners was published).

So it’s not a complete listing, but it nonetheless addresses a significant fraction of the field. It is dominated by Drugs & Science in Sports activities & Exercise, the flagship journal of the American School of Sports activities Drugs, which contributes no fewer than 49 of the papers. Following on the listing are the American Journal of Sports activities Drugs, with 18, and Sports activities Drugs, with 7. The oldest paper on the listing is from 1973, reflecting the field’s fairly modern emergence as a distinctive discipline: MSSE, for example, was only introduced in 1969.

The Winner

Topping the listing with 7,228 citations was Gunnar Borg’s 1982 paper, “Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion.” Borg is the dude who innovative the principle of a subjective scale of perceived energy, which originally ran from six to 20, despite the fact that there’s a extra reasonable modified version that runs from zero to ten. He began producing this concept in the 1960s, but the 1982 English-language paper is the just one that gets cited each time people today chat about perceived energy. (Yet another just one of Borg’s papers on the subject matter, from 1973, exhibits up at 48th on the listing.)

You may not imagine that asking people today to assign a selection to how hard they are doing the job is a important scientific breakthrough. But Borg’s function has had a big impact. He argued that his scale is “the single finest indicator of the degree of actual physical strain,” integrating indicators from the muscles, lungs, heart, and brain. In the final two a long time, extra and extra scientists have taken that argument critically as they’ve attempted to clarify the brain’s job in deciding our actual physical limitations, and also as a simple resource for guiding instruction. Base line: I’d say Borg’s paper is a deserving champion.

The Themes

The biggest team of papers on the listing emphasis on methodological resources: how to operate a VO2 max test, how to work out overall body composition, how to calibrate your pedometers and accelerometers, what validated questionnaires to use to ask your subjects about their workout habits, and so on. That’s also what is observed in other fields: the all-time most cited paper that I pointed out at the top is a strategies paper on “protein measurement with the folin phenol reagent.”

Approaches papers may well not seem all that exciting, but they can undoubtedly be controversial. Various of the papers on the listing emphasis on studies, such as the selection nine paper, from 2008, by Will Hopkins and colleagues: “Progressive studies for scientific tests in sports drugs and workout science.” That tactic to studies is made to tease out delicate efficiency results in scientific tests with smaller sample measurements. But it has arrive under intensive criticism, most notably pursuing a 2018 posting in FiveThirtyEight by Christie Aschwanden arguing that it is extra most likely to deliver false-constructive results than conventional statistical strategies.

Yet another significant bucket is official rules, primarily the types issued by the American School of Sports activities Drugs on matters such as resistance instruction, training with cancer, hydration, excess weight loss, blood pressure, and routines for more mature older people. These are practical overviews to cite in the introduction to an posting when you want to again up standard statements like “exercise is great for you” or whatsoever, but they are not specially floor-breaking.

Just after that, it’s extra of a mixed bag. The most preferred component of the anatomy is the knee, which is the emphasis of fifteen papers, primarily relating to ACL accidents. Following is the brain, which features in a few papers on concussion in sport. Two other themes that rack up multiple mentions: the enduring mystery of delayed-onset muscle soreness, and the rising overall health scourge of also significantly sitting down.

There are a few papers on the physiology of soccer, just one on the biomechanics of baseball pitching, and just one on Hakan Alfredson’s well-known heel-drop protocol for Achilles tendinosis, which squeaks in at 98th put. (Humorous backstory: Alfredson is an orthopedic surgeon who had Achilles challenges again in the 1990s. When his manager refused to give him time off for operation mainly because the affliction was not serious sufficient, he resolved to irritate his Achilles with distressing heel drops—but unintentionally healed himself.)

The Proof

I pointed out at the top that only just one of the scientific tests on the listing is a randomized controlled demo, this means that subjects were being randomly assigned to either acquire either an intervention or a placebo. Instead, most of the experimental papers use decreased stages of proof these as cohort scientific tests and circumstance series, neither of which use randomization or manage groups. The largest single category, with 38 papers, is narrative opinions, which survey the benefits of multiple scientific tests on a subject matter but don’t pool them into just one significant meta-investigation.

I imagine most sports scientists would agree that the field demands extra randomized trials, along with other methodological advancements like more substantial subject matter groups and extra advanced statistical analyses. But the faults in the top-one hundred listing most likely are not certain to sports science. Watson and Crick’s discovery of the construction of DNA and Einstein’s principle of standard relativity don’t make their respective lists either: the largest breakthroughs turn into textbook product that does not even require a citation. “If citations are what you want,” Yale University chemist Peter Moore told Nature, “devising a process that would make it doable for people today to do the experiments they want at all, or extra easily, will get you a ton even more than, say, identifying the top secret of the Universe.”

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