Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Most Read Articles & Conversation Starters in 2019
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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Most Read Articles & Conversation Starters in 2019

Bruce Gladden, Ph.D., FACSM | Jan 13, 2020

In 2019, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE) published 299 articles, amounting to 2,620 pages of text. These articles were published out of approximately 1,300 submissions at an acceptance rate of 27.8%. As expected of the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) flagship journal, the scientific content of these articles was broad-based and representative of the varied interests of ACSM’s membership.

blog_msse 2019 reviewOne measure of interest in published articles is the number of times the online version of each paper is viewed. This online content can be viewed either through an institutional subscription to the journal (Ovid) or through the journal website itself. Viewing frequency often varies between these two platforms. However, unsurprisingly, the most viewed MSSE articles in 2019 were generally position stands or consensus statements. However, a couple of 2019 original science articles made the top 10 most viewed list on the journal website. First, Schoenfeld and colleagues identified the strength and hypertrophy results of low- (one set per training session), moderate- (three sets per session) and high-volume (five sets per session) resistance exercise training over a period of eight weeks. The participants were healthy males from a university population who had consistently lifted weights at least three times per week for a minimum of one year. Muscle hypertrophy increased in a dose-respondent manner with those in the higher volume groups experiencing greater improvements. However, strength gains were not significantly different among the groups. The important practical implication is that strength gains do not necessarily require a large time commitment. In the other 2019 article that was among the top ten most viewed, McMillan and co-authors investigated the effect of exercise during pregnancy on infant neuromotor skills at one month of age. They found that infants of women in the exercise group scored higher on four of the five variables of the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, 2nd edition. If these improved neuromotor skills subsequently lead to greater physical activity in childhood, this could be extremely important for overall health, perhaps extending even into adulthood.

Social impact of scientific articles is evaluated by the altmetric score which considers tweets, blogs, Facebook mentions, coverage by news outlets, etc. The most mentions for MSSE articles published in 2019 included papers that related to the energy cost of standing, various aspects of resistance exercise training, a statistical timetable for the sub-2-hour marathon and reviews of exercise and cancer. Notably, the cancer articles which cracked the top 10 in altmetric score only came out in November!

Aside from the most accessed and most mentioned articles for 2019, I want to also particularly note the series of 14 articles relating reviews by the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee in the June issue of MSSE; Dr. William Kraus, current ACSM President, spearheaded this effort. Additionally, two sets of contrasting perspectives were published in 2019. The first of these debated the health risks of obesity with Glenn Gaesser and Steven Blair versus John Jakicic, Renee Rogers and Joseph Donnelly. The second contrasting perspectives on the degree to which DNA sequence variations contribute to variability in fitness and trainability was debated by Claude Bouchard and Michael Joyner. In the upcoming year, I am anticipating debates on the anaerobic threshold as well as hypoxic training in elite athletes.

Regardless of article access and reading and social media mentions, the ultimate scientific impact shows up in citations in the scientific literature. It will be interesting to see the citations accumulated by these notable articles of 2019.

Most Viewed Articles of 2019 (Ovid and MSSE website combined)

American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011 Jul;43(7):1334-59.

American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2016 Mar;48(3):543-68.

American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007 Feb;39(2):377-90.

American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adult. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009 Mar;41(3):687-708.

American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009 Jul;41(7):1510-30.

American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009 Feb;41(2):459-71

Load, Overload, and Recovery in the Athlete: Select Issues for the Team Physician-A Consensus Statement. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Apr;51(4):821-828.

Exercise and type 2 diabetes: the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2010 Dec;33(12):e147-67.

Effects of Aerobic Exercise during Pregnancy on 1-Month Infant Neuromotor Skills. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Aug;51(8):1671-1676.

Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Jan;51(1):94-103.

Articles Published in 2019 with Highest Altmetric Score:

The Energy Cost of Sitting versus Standing Naturally in Man. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Apr;51(4):726-733.

Associations of Resistance Exercise with Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Mar;51(3):499-508.

Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Jan;51(1):94-103.

Effects of Aerobic Exercise during Pregnancy on 1-Month Infant Neuromotor Skills. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Aug;51(8):1671-1676.

Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors: Consensus Statement from International Multidisciplinary Roundtable. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Nov;51(11):2375-2390.

American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable Report on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Cancer Prevention and Control. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Nov;51(11):2391-2402.

Extended Sleep Maintains Endurance Performance Better than Normal or Restricted Sleep. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Dec;51(12):2516-2523.

Leucine Metabolites Do Not Enhance Training-induced Performance or Muscle Thickness. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Jan;51(1):56-64

Equivalent Hypertrophy and Strength Gains in β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate- or Leucine-supplemented Men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Jan;51(1):65-74.

A Statistical Timetable for the Sub–2-Hour Marathon. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 Jul;51(7):1460-1466.

Bruce Gladden, Ph.D., FACSM, is a professor at Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology. His work is focused on the role of lactate in skeletal muscle and whole-body metabolism. He is the author or co-author of more than 75 refereed research articles and reviews, and his investigative work has attracted research funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NATO and private research foundations. Dr. Gladden has served as president of the southeast chapter of ACSM, a member of the ACSM Board of Trustees and he is currently the editor-in-chief of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. He was the recipient of an ACSM Citation Award in 2015 in recognition of his significant contributions to sports medicine and the exercise sciences.