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Juerg Feldmann

Fortiori Design LLC
Posts: 1,530

Igor , thanks for the mail. I will answer somewhat later today or tomorrow and possibly on the moxy forum. We have many different "ideas" for "protocols" but we need the help for the different specialist in the sport to be better and more sport specific . I will show you the ideas behind sport specific assessment form our point of view and than we need the help for a proper idea. Cheers Juerg

Subject: Re: MOXY workshop
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2013 12:46:36 +0100

Thanks everybody for the very interesting afternoon. Innovation always have to face resistance, that can be overcome with data's, facts and good results. One of the big advantages of Moxy is his flexibility that makes it possible to test different sports in a very specific way! I am interested to know what kind of protocols already exist, because i would like to test some ice skaters, tennis and soccer players. Thanks for a short feedback and much success.
Cheers, Igor Maggini

And here  a  nice add on to Igor's
Innovation always have to face resistance 
this  when innovation  knocks  on " classical"  dogmas .
 Here   a  much  more  and nicer  view on this.

How does a foundational myth become sacred scientific dogma?

The case of A.V. Hill and the anaerobiosis controversy

Part 1

by Tim Noakes


The basis of the scientific method is the development of intellectual models, the predictions of which are then subjected to scientific evaluation. Indeed the real value of these models is the predictions they make. Whether or not these models are ‘true’ is not crucial since it is only through the testing of their predictions that their fraudulence can be exposed. As Nobel Laureate A.V. Hill wrote in 1965:

I have long believed, and am still inclined to believe, that all theories of muscle contraction are wrong. But they have been very useful in stimulating new research. In fact, many of the best theories are self destructive, by provoking fresh inquiry and leading to new facts which they cannot explain. The only useless theories are those that cannot be tested and can explain everything (362–3).

Thus the crux of such models is the attempt to refute or falsify their predictions. Successful refutation forces revision of each model; the revised model persists as the ‘truth’ until its predictions are, in turn, refuted. Thus any scientific model should persist for only as long as it resists refutation. This form of science, however, is not always popular; we are usually rather too keen to confirm that the theories of our founding scientific heroes are, naturally, correct. This latter approach seems to be particularly prevalent in the exercise sciences. But when we adopt this deferential approach we risk becoming a tribe of scientific marionettes. Most certainly we betray the efforts of our scientific founders who would much prefer that we disprove and hence perfect their imperfect theories.

My special interest in the exercise sciences has focused on an understanding of the factors that limit exercise performance especially during high intensity exercise of short duration. The most popular current explanation is that the cardiovascular system has a limited capacity to supply oxygen to the active muscles, especially during maximal exercise. As a result, skeletal muscle oxygen demand outstrips supply, causing the development of skeletal muscle hypoxia (reduced oxygen concentration) or even anaerobiosis (absence of oxygen) during vigorous exercise. This hypoxia stimulates the onset of lactic acid (lactate) production as the exercising muscles begin to produce an increasing proportion of their energy from those ‘anaerobic’ metabolic pathways, capable of producing energy even in the absence of oxygen. The most effective such pathway is the incomplete breakdown of the main skeletal muscle carbohydrate store, glycogen, to lactic acid (lactate). Accordingly this model predicts that the most important factor determining exercise performance is the body’s capacity to transport and utilize oxygen and that fatigue results when the maximal capacity for oxygen transport is exceeded. As a consequence, it is argued that the most important effect of any intervention that alters exercise performance, be it exercise training, nutritional interventions, drug use or disease, is to change oxygen delivery to, and oxygen utilization by the active muscles during exercise. Thus it is believed that the common consequence of all the physiological, biochemical and functional adaptations that enhance exercise performance is to reduce skeletal muscle hypoxia or anaerobiosis during exercise.

The historical basis for this model is the original research of Nobel Laureate from the Universities of Manchester and London, Archibald Vivian Hill, which has survived in the classic theory that oxygen consumption ‘plateaus’ during progressive exercise to exhaustion, proving the development of skeletal muscle anaerobiosis (Hill 1925; Hill and Lupton 1923; Hill et al. 1924a, 1924b). But I contend that Hill’s quite simple research methods failed to establish the existence of the ‘plateau phenomenon’ during exercise so that I argue that this core component of his historical model remains unproven (Noakes 1988, 1991, 1997, 1998; Noakes et al. 2001). Furthermore, definitive evidence that skeletal muscle anaerobiosis ever develops during exercise in humans and that this anaerobiosis initiates lactate production and its accumulation in blood, is not currently available (Mole et al. 1999; Richardson et al. 1998; Saltin 1989). As is appropriate, my contentions have been vigorously refuted (Bassett and Howley 1997, 2000; Bergh et al. 2000; Ekblom 2000; Wagner 2000).

In this process I realized that this historical physiological model has become what Waller terms a ‘Foundation Myth’ (Waller 2002) and, as a consequence, has escaped modern disinterested, intellectual scrutiny. The reasons for this serve as a warning of the fallibility of scientists and the current scientific methods under which we labour.

The writer Salman Rushdie, who spent many years in seclusion when his life was threatened because of his heretical views, has said: ‘The journey creates us. We become the frontiers we cross’. My personal intellectual journey did not begin as a scientist but as a medical doctor training in a small city, far distant from the historical axis of academic excellence in Europe and North America, in a country that at that time was ruled by a repressive dictatorship that discouraged free thought. I was fortunate for the exposure to those frontiers. It is here that I begin the story.

Lessons from a medical training

The first great lesson of medicine is to teach one’s supreme level of personal stupidity. Indeed there is a collective level of medical ignorance, so brilliantly described by Dr Lewis Thomas (1985: 10):

The greatest single achievement of science in this most scientifically productive of centuries is the discovery that we are profoundly ignorant. … I wish there were some formal courses in medical school on medical ignorance; textbooks as well, although they would have to be very heavy volumes. We have a long way to go.

Indeed, the beauty of the Textbooks of Ignorance would be their accuracy. I am reminded of these quotations whenever a scientist expounds the ignorance of absolute certainty. Regardless of any appearance of individual brilliance, we are each profoundly ignorant. And never more so than when we are absolutely certain of our most brilliant opinions.

This distinctive characteristic of modern medicine to challenge the truth (Le Fanu 1999), explains the intellectual paradox captured in the classic quotation attributed to a former Dean of Harvard, Dr Sydney Burwell by G.W. Pickering (1956: 14), himself formerly Professor of Medicine at the University of London and a protagonist in one of the classic medical arguments of the twentieth century (Swales 1985): ‘My students are dismayed when I say to them, ‘‘Half of what you are taught as medical students will in 10 years have been shown to be wrong. And the trouble is, none of your teachers know which half’’’.

The second great advantage of my medical education was that it included nothing about the exercise sciences, other than that which I taught myself. Learning in this way has important disadvantages, but one unique advantage is the avoidance of indoctrination, which is the tendency towards a stubborn, if subconscious, acceptance of a specific scientific mindset or prejudice that we acquire from our venerated tutors whom we assume to be intellectually infallible (Waller 2002). This could perhaps be termed the Tyranny of the Founder Effect.

It is an effect for which the exercise sciences are especially susceptible since the profession is still very young and a relatively small band of famous founders including A.V. Hill in Britain, David Dill in the United States of America, Cyril Wyndham in South Africa, Wolder Hollman in Germany, Erling Asmussen, Erik Hohwu Christensen, Marius Nielsen and August Krogh in Copenhagen, P.O. Astrand and Bengt Saltin in Stockholm, and R. Margaria in Italy, have bequeathed an inordinately influential legacy. Indeed the second generation of scientists trained by those giants are only now approaching retirement age. Thus it is likely that the global teaching in the exercise sciences still reflects the powerful influence of those remarkable founding scientists.

My point is that a crucial outcome of our scientific training conditions us to accept only a limited sample of all the possible truths. Further we are more likely to accept those ‘truths’ that we learned from the giants who educated us and, in particular, their ‘foundation myths’ (Waller 2002). So ignorance of the historic precursors to that which is the presently considered ‘truth’ or received wisdom, can be a formidable attribute. For it allows the freedom to consider any intellectual possibility.

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