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1.  The Dutch Parelsnoer Institute - Neurodegenerative diseases; methods, design and baseline results 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):254.
Background
The Parelsnoer Institute is a collaboration between 8 Dutch University Medical Centers in which clinical data and biomaterials from patients suffering from chronic diseases (so called “Pearls”) are collected according to harmonized protocols. The Pearl Neurodegenerative Diseases focuses on the role of biomarkers in the early diagnosis, differential diagnosis and in monitoring the course of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s disease.
The objective of this paper is to describe the design and methods of the Pearl Neurodegenerative Diseases, as well as baseline descriptive variables, including their biomarker profile.
Methods
The Pearl Neurodegenerative Diseases is a 3-year follow-up study of patients referred to a memory clinic with cognitive complaints. At baseline, all patients are subjected to a standardized examination, including clinical data and biobank materials, e.g. blood samples, MRI and cerebrospinal fluid. At present, in total more than 1000 patients have been included, of which cerebrospinal fluid and DNA samples are available of 211 and 661 patients, respectively. First descriptives of a subsample of the data (n = 665) shows that patients are diagnosed with dementia (45%), mild cognitive impairment (31%), and subjective memory complaints (24%).
Discussion
The Pearl Neurodegenerative Diseases is an ongoing large network collecting clinical data and biomaterials of more than 1000 patients with cognitive impairments. The project has started with data analyses of the baseline characteristics and biomarkers, which will be the starting point of future specific research questions that can be answered by this unique dataset.
doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0254-4
PMCID: PMC4301568  PMID: 25551191
Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; Design; Biobank; Research infrastructure
3.  Diagnostic and economic evaluation of new biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease: the research protocol of a prospective cohort study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:72.
Background
New research criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have recently been developed to enable an early diagnosis of AD pathophysiology by relying on emerging biomarkers. To enable efficient allocation of health care resources, evidence is needed to support decision makers on the adoption of emerging biomarkers in clinical practice. The research goals are to 1) assess the diagnostic test accuracy of current clinical diagnostic work-up and emerging biomarkers in MRI, PET and CSF, 2) perform a cost-consequence analysis and 3) assess long-term cost-effectiveness by an economic model.
Methods/design
In a cohort design 241 consecutive patients suspected of having a primary neurodegenerative disease are approached in four academic memory clinics and followed for two years. Clinical data and data on quality of life, costs and emerging biomarkers are gathered.
Diagnostic test accuracy is determined by relating the clinical practice and new research criteria diagnoses to a reference diagnosis. The clinical practice diagnosis at baseline is reflected by a consensus procedure among experts using clinical information only (no biomarkers). The diagnosis based on the new research criteria is reflected by decision rules that combine clinical and biomarker information. The reference diagnosis is determined by a consensus procedure among experts based on clinical information on the course of symptoms over a two-year time period.
A decision analytic model is built combining available evidence from different resources among which (accuracy) results from the study, literature and expert opinion to assess long-term cost-effectiveness of the emerging biomarkers.
Discussion
Several other multi-centre trials study the relative value of new biomarkers for early evaluation of AD and related disorders. The uniqueness of this study is the assessment of resource utilization and quality of life to enable an economic evaluation. The study results are generalizable to a population of patients who are referred to a memory clinic due to their memory problems.
Trial registration
NCT01450891
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-72
PMCID: PMC3460756  PMID: 22883691
4.  A new combined strategy to implement a community occupational therapy intervention: designing a cluster randomized controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:13.
Background
Even effective interventions for people with dementia and their caregivers require specific implementation efforts. A pilot study showed that the highly effective community occupational therapy in dementia (COTiD) program was not implemented optimally due to various barriers. To decrease these barriers and make implementation of the program more effective a combined implementation (CI) strategy was developed. In our study we will compare the effectiveness of this CI strategy with the usual educational (ED) strategy.
Methods
In this cluster randomized, single-blinded, controlled trial, each cluster consists of at least two occupational therapists, a manager, and a physician working at Dutch healthcare organizations that deliver community occupational therapy. Forty-five clusters, stratified by healthcare setting (nursing home, hospital, mental health service), have been allocated randomly to either the intervention group (CI strategy) or the control group (ED strategy). The study population consists of the professionals included in each cluster and community-dwelling people with dementia and their caregivers. The primary outcome measures are the use of community OT, the adherence of OTs to the COTiD program, and the cost effectiveness of implementing the COTiD program in outpatient care. Secondary outcome measures are patient and caregiver outcomes and knowledge of managers, physicians and OTs about the COTiD program.
Discussion
Implementation research is fairly new in the field of occupational therapy, making this a unique study. This study does not only evaluate the effects of the CI-strategy on professionals, but also the effects of professionals' degree of implementation on client and caregiver outcomes.
Clinical trials registration
NCT01117285
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-13
PMCID: PMC3078849  PMID: 21450063

Results 1-4 (4)