Four LSU Researchers Among Top Cited Scholars in the World

Friday, October 26, 2018

Several LSU researchers rank among the highest cited scholars in the world. In a recently updated list based on information from the Google Scholar Citations database, four LSU professors rank among the 3,160 scholars with an h-index over 100. The h-index, named after physicist Jorge E. Hirsch, is an attempt to measure both productivity and impact of published papers, taking into account a researcher’s total number of papers and how many times each was cited by other scholars. An h-index over 100 amounts to 100 research papers each cited over 100 times.

Steven Heymsfield, M.D., professor at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, is on this prestigious list. The success of his most cited paper, “Epidemiology of sarcopenia among the elderly in New Mexico,” written together with Dr. Richard N. Baumgartner on how muscle mass decreases with age, wasn’t immediately obvious at the time it was published in American Journal of Epidemiology in 1998.

“Little did we know so long ago that the problem of sarcopenia would become a major topic of current research,” Dr. Heymsfield said. “There are two parallel epidemics that people think about now—obesity and sarcopenia—and our paper on sarcopenia was one of the first, defining it as BMI, body mass index. Since then, everyone has used that index. It has amused me so much because in the moment it was just a natural thing to do and not a huge amount of thought went into it, and now it’s one of the hottest topics in clinical research. You’d think something would get hot right away, like a number one song, but what we wrote became a tremendous topic of discussion much later.”

“You think science should be premeditated,” he continues. “But in so many ways it’s about it being the right time, the right place, and the right combination of people. You just don’t know how things are going to turn out. I’m still writing papers now that many people might think are obscure.”

Dr. Claude Bouchard, Boyd Professor and John W. Barton, Sr. Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition, also at Pennington, has the highest current h-index at LSU. His research centers on the genetics and consequences of obesity and the health benefits of exercise. He co-wrote a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1995 titled “Physical activity and public health: a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine,” which has been cited almost 10,000 times.

“It was well known at the time that hard exercise had the most health benefits,” Dr. Bouchard recalls. “But only a small percentage of the population could do that type of high-intensity exercise and there was a group of us who were trying to brainstorm about what to do to get more people active. We came to a compromise—we decreased the recommendation to make exercise more acceptable to more people and although they wouldn’t get as much benefit at a lower level of intensity, they would get some benefit.”

Joining Dr. Heymsfield and Dr. Bouchard on the list of the most cited scholars in the world is Dr. D. Neil Granger, Boyd Professor Emeritus of Molecular & Cellular Physiology at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. His most cited paper, “Nitric oxide: an endogenous modulator of leukocyte adhesion,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1991.

Dr. Paul Frick, Roy Crumpler Memorial Chair and professor of psychology at LSU, has also earned an h-index over 100. His research investigates the many interacting factors that can lead children and adolescents to have serious emotional and behavioral problems, such as aggressive and antisocial behavior.

“It’s quite an honor to be on this list,” he said. “In my research, we have looked at kids with behavioral problems and developed ways of identifying them and treating them. Once your scale or system of how a disease or problem is classified and diagnosed is picked up by entities such as the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association, you tend to get a lot of citations because everyone who uses your measure has to cite you to justify theirs.”

For the complete list of highly cited scholars with an h-index over 100, go to www.webometrics.info/en/hlargerthan100.