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April 2010 Download this article
Harvard University Obesity Research, the Top 20 Institutions
Institution Feature

This month, presents a listing of the top 20 institutions which, according to our Special Topic on  Obesity, attracted the highest total citations to their papers published on the topic in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals.

These institutions are the top 20 ranked by total cites out of a pool of 30,223 institutions publishing on this topic, based on the string search "obesity," "obese," or "overweight" in titles, abstracts, and keywords of original articles, reviews, and proceedings papers published between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2009.

The resulting list of institutions includes 17 US-based organizations: 11 universities, four hospitals, and two government agencies. There are also a European and a UK university on the list, as well as one in Japan.

Leading the group by a significant margin is Harvard University, with 2,161 papers cited a total of 90,448 times. Harvard's top-cited papers cover such diverse topics as public health issues (disease burden, annual deaths, sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity), comorbid diseases (diabetes, metabolic syndrome), genome studies, bariatric surgery, and the role protein hormones like leptin and adiponectin play in obesity.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rank at #2, with 685 papers cited a total of 37,176 times. Several of the authors included in our analysis are from the CDC, including Katherine Flegal, Cynthia Ogden, William Dietz, and Margaret Carroll. Prevalence and trends of obesity, definitions for childhood obesity and overweight, disease burdens, epidemics of obesity and diabetes, and the Bogalusa Heart Study are among the highly cited paper topics from the CDC.

The #3 slot belongs to the University of Washington, with 868 papers cited a total of 29,263 times. The role of the central nervous system in food intake is a dominant theme in this university's highly cited papers. Other topics include ghrelin levels after diet or weight-loss surgery, the roles of C-reactive protein, leptin, and adiponectin in obesity, and the relationship between obesity and poverty.

Coming in at #4 is Columbia University, with 923 papers cited a total of 26,298 times. Among the highly cited topics here are papers on macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue, annual deaths attributable to obesity, body-mass index in Asian populations, metabolic syndrome, use of rimonabant and orlistat for weight loss, and the connection between obesity and depression or suicide.

Johns Hopkins University ranks at #5, with 978 papers cited a total of 26,272 times. Years of life lost due to obesity; studies of lifestyle activity vs. structured aerobics in obese women; sleep disordered breathing and insulin resistance in overweight men; TV watching, energy intake, and obesity in kids; and studies of resveratrol in mice are among the most-cited papers for Johns Hopkins.

The Harvard-affiliated Brigham & Women's Hospital comes in at #6, with 587 papers cited a total of 25,264 times. The hospital's most-cited topics range from the molecular to the human scale: papers on inflammatory biomarkers and the role of C-reactive protein in metabolic syndrome appear alongside papers on the disease burden of obesity and the impact of being overweight on chronic disease risk.

The #7-ranked institution is the University of Minnesota, with 1,043 papers cited a total of 25,172 times. This university is notable for multiple papers on bariatric surgery among its highly cited papers. Other topics include long-term maintenance of weight loss, physical activity, and cardiovascular disease risks. Mary Story, who is ranked at #7 by total number of papers, hails from the University of Minnesota.

At #8 is the University of Osaka, with 368 papers cited a total of 23,465 times. Several of the most-cited authors in our analysis are from Osaka, including Tohru Funahashi, Shinji Kihara, and Iichiro Shimomura. The role of adiponectin in obesity and type 2 diabetes dominates Osaka's highly cited papers. Other topics include oxidative stress in obesity and its role in metabolic syndrome, and new criteria for "obesity disease" in Japan.

The first of two Pennsylvania institutions, the University of Pittsburgh, ranks at #9, with 861 papers cited a total of 22,857 times. Pitt's highly cited papers cover such topics as outcomes following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, effects of weight loss on regional fat distribution and insulin sensitivity, long-term weight loss and change in blood pressure, and decreasing physical activity in black and white female adolescents.

Rounding out the top 10 is the second Pennsylvania university, the University of Pennsylvania, with 785 papers cited a total of 21,860 times. A great deal of Penn's focus is on the link between obesity and diabetes via the protein resistin. Other topics garnering citations include low-carbohydrate diets for obesity, adipose tissue as an endocrine organ, and the regulation of food intake by AMP-kinase.

The remaining US universities on the list include Yale University (#11), the University of North Carolina (#16), the University of California, Los Angeles (#17), and Boston University (#20). Hospitals include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (#12), Mayo Clinic & Mayo Foundation (#15), and UT Southwestern Medical Center (#19). The second US-based government institution comes in at #18, the NIDDK. The UK and European institutions on the list are UCL (#13) and the University of Helsinki (#14), respectively.

The top 20 institutions in the Special Topic of Obesity are listed in full in the table below:

Rank       Institutions Citations Papers Citations
Per Paper
1 Harvard Univ 90,448 2,161 41.85
2 Ctr Dis Control & Prevent 37,176 685 54.27
3 Univ Washington 29,263 868 33.71
4 Columbia Univ 26,298 923 28.49
5 Johns Hopkins Univ 26,272 978 26.86
6 Brigham & Womens Hosp 25,264 587 43.04
7 Univ Minnesota 25,172 1,043 24.13
8 Osaka Univ 23,465 368 63.76
9 Univ Pittsburgh 22,857 861 26.55
10 Univ Penn 21,860 785 27.85
11 Univ Texas 20,855 586 35.59
12 Yale Univ 20,552 584 35.19
13 Beth Israel Deaconess Med Ctr 19,811 332 59.67
14 UCL 19,741 694 28.45
15 Univ Helsinki 19,592 542 36.15
16 Mayo Clin & Mayo Fdn 19,183 732 26.21
17 Univ N Carolina 19,066 900 21.18
18 Univ Calif Los Angeles 18,464 741 24.92
19 NIDDK 17,996 410 43.89
20 UT SOUTHWESTERN MED CTR 17,489 502 34.84

Full citation details of all of these institutions can be seen in Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters.

KEYWORDS: COPD, Obesity, Univ London Imperial Coll Sci Technol & Med, Harvard Univ, Univ British Columbia, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV, Univ Calif Los Angeles, Univ Pittsburgh, Washington Univ.

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Institutional Interviews : 2010 : Obesity Research, the Top 20 Institutions