Implementation Neuroscience

Prof. Dr. Marina Boccardi

Research areas/focus

Similar to other diseases, also for neurocognitive disorders only a small portion of the research progress affects clinical practice. Hurdles are due to a variety of reasons, ranging from logistical, to methodological and cultural ones. The aim of the Implementation Neuroscience group consists of tackling these hurdles as systematically as possible, to increase translation effectiveness. Specific methods include methodological pipelines entailing all development phases (from basic research to implementation), like the 5-phase biomarker validation roadmap, consensus procedures, as well as structuring the involvement of pertinent stakeholders and end-users not only at the latest translational steps, but also from early clinical research. By keeping in mind how our research should impact clinical practice at all steps of the translational continuum, we can design better studies and increase cost-effectiveness of dementia research. The activities of the Implementation Neuroscience group are conceived in tight synergy with those of the Clinical Dementia Research and of the Translational Health Care Research groups at DZNE-Rostock-Greifswald.

Past work included taking neuropsychology-based rehabilitation techniques to caregivers of people with neurocognitive disorders, defining standard operating procedures and clinical guidelines for the use of diagnostic biomarkers in clinical research and practice, and importing from other medical fields the methodology for the systematic validation and implementation of diagnostic biomarkers. The next goals consist of adapting these validation methods to new biomarkers (e.g., markers of tauopathy), to harmonize specific portions of the diagnostic procedure (e.g., the neuropsychological assessment for the diagnosis of MCI) or adapting these methods to different contexts of use (e.g., case finding).

Effective implementation requires that the different actors involved in the different research steps be aware of the above issues and of the most effective methods. Thus, current research is also aimed to build and structure this kind of interdisciplinary collaboration.

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