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Prof John M Saxton

Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology

Department: Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

John is a Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology and Head of the Department of Sport, Exercise, and Rehabilitation.

John Saxton graduated from Loughborough University in 1990 before embarking upon PhD research in skeletal muscle physiology at the University of Wolverhampton and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA.

Following a period of post-doctoral work, he undertook lectureships at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Sheffield, before working as a research physiologist in Health and Safety Executive research laboratories in Sheffield.

He then spent 10 years at Sheffield Hallam University, where he led the Active Health Research Group and was Principal Investigator for several randomised controlled exercise trials with clinical populations, including cardiovascular disease and cancer patients.

In March 2010, he joined the University of East Anglia as a position in Professor of Clinical Exercise Physiology at UEA and held the leadership positions of Associate Dean for Enterprise and Engagement (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) and Post Graduate Research Director for the School of Health Sciences.

Campus Address

Northumberland Building
City Campus
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 8ST

0191 227 3371

Qualifications

BSc (Hons); PhD

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

John Saxton’s research is focused on the role of exercise and other lifestyle factors in the prevention and management of long-term conditions.

Specific research questions that his research aims to address include: how can we optimise exercise therapy (frequency, intensity, time and type) to bring the greatest health or therapeutic benefits for clinical populations? In those with long-term conditions, what is the role of exercise in disease modification? Why do some patients respond/adapt differently to exercise training? What are the contra-indications to exercise in different clinical groups?

He has worked with several clinical populations, including cancer patients and survivors, patients with peripheral arterial disease and chronic heart failure and people with multiple sclerosis. As Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator his research has been supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR-HTA), British Heart Foundation, Heart Research UK, Cancer Research UK, the American Institute for Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer Charity/Movember, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Health and Safety Executive and the Food Standards Agency.

In 2010 he was the lead editor of a book entitled “Exercise and cancer survivorship: impact on health outcomes and quality of life”, published by Springer Scientific (NY, USA) and in 2011 was the sole editor of a second book entitled “Exercise and chronic disease: an evidence-based approach”, published by Routledge, UK.

His published clinical intervention studies have helped to build a solid evidence-base to support the use of exercise in the management of many age-related long-term conditions.

Professional Activity

Membership of professional societies                                    

  • BASES Accredited Research Physiologist (since 1997) and Fellow of BASES (FBASES) since 2009
  • Physiological Society
  • Society for Research in Rehabilitation
  • 2013 – 2015:    BASES Annual Conference Scientific Programme Committee
  • 2007 - present: BASES Accreditation Committee
  • 2005 – 2007:    Elected Research Representative for the BASES Physical Activity for Health Division

Sponsors and Collaborators

Honorary Professorial Fellow, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia

Current/Recent Projects

Title: SuPpoRtive Exercise Programmes for Accelerated REcovery after major ABdominal Cancer surgery (Acronym: PREPARE-ABC).

Role: Co-Chief Investigator with Mr James Hernon (Colorectal Surgeon, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust).

Agency: National Institute for Health Research – Health Technology Assessment (NIHR-HTA)

Date: May 2016 – June 2020

The aim of the study is to establish the effectiveness of pre-operative and post-hospital discharge exercise programmes in relation to short-term recovery outcomes and longer-term health-related quality of life in colorectal cancer patients undergoing major (curative) abdominal surgery. This is a large-scale multi-centre randomised controlled trial involving ≥15 NHS Foundation Trusts the UK.

 

Title: The TrueNth Exercise and Diet Project (part of a global research collaboration which includes clinicians, academics, patients and organisations from the UK, Canada, Australia and other countries).

Role: Co-investigator with colleagues from the School of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey.

Agency: Movember/Prostate Cancer Charity

Date: April 2014 - January 2017

The aim of this project is to develop a pharmacy service for providing men with information about their personal health status after a prostate cancer diagnosis and provide a risk-assessed lifestyle prescription. In addition to lifestyle advice, men will be offered support and signposting to local survivorship services. Key objectives are to develop and pilot test this delivery model in pharmacies in the south of England. This is a research collaboration with colleagues from the University of Surrey.

 

Title: Neurophysiological correlates of MS fatigue and the feasibility of progressive resistance exercise for ameliorating symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis.

Role: Principal Investigator

Agency: Multiple Sclerosis Society

Date: April 2014 - April 2017

This project is undertaking preliminary investigations into the neurophysiology of MS fatigue. It will include a systematic review, method development, cross-sectional studies and a randomised controlled feasibility trial. This is a collaborative project with colleagues from the University of East Anglia and Oxford Brookes University. The results of this research will be used to develop a proposal for a future larger scale multi-centre trial.

 

Title: The effects of a pragmatic exercise therapy intervention on physical activity and important health outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis.

Role: Principal Investigator

Agency: Multiple Sclerosis Society

Date: March 2009 – June 2012

The major aim of this study was to investigate whether a pragmatic exercise intervention is effective for evoking improvements in physical activity behaviour and, as a consequence, disease-specific health outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis. This was a collaboration with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University, the Academic Neurology Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the University of Birmingham.

 

Title: Effects of a lifestyle intervention on quality of life, body mass/composition and cardiovascular risk in patients being treated for obstructive sleep apnoea.

Role: Co-Investigator

Agency: Sheffield Hospitals Charitable Trust/Sleep Apnoea Trust

Date: September 2009 – September 2011

This study investigated the effects of a pragmatic lifestyle intervention, incorporating supervised exercise, dietary education and the promotion of lifestyle behaviour change using cognitive-behavioural techniques, in obese adults with continuous positive airway pressure-treated obstructive sleep apnoea hypopnoea syndrome. This was a collaboration with clinical colleagues from the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

 

Title: The effect of a lifestyle intervention on body weight, psychological health status and risk factors associated with disease recurrence in women recovering from breast cancer treatment.

Role: Principal Investigator

Agency: American Institute for Cancer Research

Date: February  2006 – February 2009

The major goal of this study was to investigate the effects of a practical lifestyle intervention for overweight or obese women (BMI > 25) who have undergone breast cancer treatment, on body weight, indices of psychological well-being, biomarkers associated with disease recurrence and physiological health status and quality of life. This was a collaboration with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sheffield at the Weston Park Hospital and the Universities of Birmingham and Glasgow.

 

Title: Testosterone as an adjunct to exercise rehabilitation: effects on exercise capacity, inflammatory markers and quality of life in hypogonadal males with chronic heart failure.

Role: Principal Investigator

Agency: Heart Research UK

Date: July 2006 – July 2010

The major aim of this study was to examine the effects of testosterone therapy, as an adjunct to exercise rehabilitation, on functional fitness, skeletal muscle/cardiac function, inflammatory mediators and disease-specific quality of life in hypogonadal males with chronic heart failure. This was a collaboration with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University and the Department of Cardiology, University of Sheffield.

 

Title: Effect of a dietary intervention on functional immune status in the elderly.

Role: Co-Investigator with colleagues in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Sheffield.

Agency: Food Standards Agency

Date: October 2005 – October 2008

The major aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a food-based intervention and micronutrient supplement intervention on the functioning of circulating immune cells in the elderly. 

 

Key Publications

  • Gilbert SE, Tew GA, Fairhurst C, Bourke L, Saxton JM, Winter EM, Rosario DJ (2016). Effects of a lifestyle intervention on endothelial function in men on long-term androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. British Journal of Cancer 114, 401-408.
  • Carter A, Daley AJ, Humphreys L, Snowdon N, Woodroofe MN, Petty J, Roalfe A, Tosh J, Sharrack B, Saxton JM (2014). Pragmatic intervention for increasing self-directed exercise behaviour and improving important health outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis: a randomised controlled trial. Multiple Sclerosis 20, 1112-1122.
  • Bourke L, Gilbert S, Hooper R, Steed LA, Joshi M, Catto JW, Saxton JM, Rosario DJ (2013). Lifestyle changes for improving disease-specific quality of life in sedentary men on long-term androgen-deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer: a randomised controlled trial. European Urology 65, 865-872.
  • Scott E, Daley AJ, Doll H, Woodroofe N, Coleman RE, Mutrie N, Crank H, Powers HJ, Saxton JM (2013). Effects of an exercise and hypocaloric healthy eating program on biomarkers associated with long-term prognosis after early-stage breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Cancer Causes and Control 24, 181-191.
  • Stout M, Tew GA, Doll H, Zwierska I, Woodroofe MN, Channer KS, Saxton JM (2012). Testosterone therapy during exercise rehabilitation in male chronic heart failure patients with low testosterone status: a double-blind randomized controlled feasibility study. American Heart Journal 164, 893-901.
  • Tew G, Nawaz S, Zwierska I, Saxton J (2009). Limb-specific and cross-transfer effects of arm-crank exercise training in patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease. Clinical Science 117, 405-413.

PGR Supervision

  • Anouska Carter: The effects of a pragmatic exercise therapy intervention on physical activity and important health outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis (part-time). Director of Studies when based at Sheffield Hallam University, co-supervisor after moving to UEA. PhD awarded in 2016 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Barnabus Shaw: The effects of a pragmatic exercise intervention on bowel health in men and women enrolled on the NHS Bowel Screening Programme in Norfolk: studies of epigenetic markers in colon epithelial tissue, leukocytes and buccal cells. Director of Studies. PhD awarded in 2016 by the University of East Anglia.
  • Liane Lewis: Self-determination theory as a model for evoking sustained changes in physical activity behaviour in men and women enrolled on the NHS Bowel Screening Programme in Norfolk. Director of Studies. PhD awarded in 2016 by the University of East Anglia.
  • Kelly Semper: A qualitative analysis of the perceived health benefits resulting from engaging in a physical activity intervention following bowel cancer screening in Norfolk. Director of Studies. PhD awarded 2015 by the University of East Anglia.
  • Martin Stout: Testosterone replacement therapy and exercise training in males with low testosterone status and heart failure (part-time). Director of Studies. PhD awarded 2013 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Stephen Gilbert: Cardiovascular health in men on androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. PhD awarded in 2013 by Sheffield Hallam University. Director of Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, co-supervisor after moving to UEA.
  • James Moss: Physiological effects of treatments in obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. PhD awarded in 2013 by Sheffield Hallam University. Director of Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, co-supervisor after moving to UEA.
  • Liam Bourke: The effects of a lifestyle intervention on health outcomes in elderly prostate and colorectal cancer patients. Director of Studies. PhD awarded 2010 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Garry Tew: Physiological effects of exercise training in elderly patients with peripheral vascular disease. Director of Studies. PhD awarded 2009 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Borja Sanudo Corrales: Comparative effect of two exercise programs on quality of life and functional ability in women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Co-Supervisor. PhD awarded 2009 by University of Seville, Spain.
  • Helen Crank: The effects of exercise therapy upon quality of life in female breast cancer survivors. Co-Supervisor. PhD awarded 2007 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Stephen Hodgson: Proximal humerus fracture rehabilitation in the elderly. Co-Supervisor. PhD awarded 2006 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Andrew Davies: The effects of extreme thermal environments on the risks associated with manual handling tasks. Director of Studies. PhD awarded 2006 by Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Irena Zwierska: A comparison of upper-limb and lower-limb exercise training in elderly patients with intermittent claudication. Director of Studies. PhD awarded 2005 by Sheffield Hallam University. 

MD Completion

  • Srijit Banerjee: Preoperative Exercise Protocol to Aid Recovery (PREPARE) after Radical Cystectomy. MD awarded 2016 by the University of East Anglia. 
  • Shah Nawaz: Exercise studies in intermittent claudication. Co-Supervisor. MD awarded 2001 by the University of Sheffield. 

Current PhD Supervision

  • Paula Ellison: Neurophysiological studies of fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis and the feasibility of progressive resistance exercise. Director of Studies at Northumbria University. April 2014 –
  • Ruth Ashton: Development and evaluation of a supported home-based progressive resistance exercise training programme for men with prostate cancer. Director of Studies at Northumbria University. October 2015 –

Current MD Supervision

  • Wilphard Ndjavera: Should Urologists assess cardiovascular risk of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) in prostate cancer patients and can exercise therapy improve outcomes? Director of Studies at the University of East Anglia. September 2013 –
  • Kate Manley: Prehabilitation in patients awaiting major abdominal surgery for colorectal cancer: impact on peri- and post-operative recovery outcomes. Director of Studies at the University of East Anglia. August 2013 – 


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