The state of clinical research in neurology

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To study and provide an update on the state of clinical research in neurology in the United States.


US American Academy of Neurology members and chairs of departments of neurology were surveyed regarding clinical research in 2016. NIH data on the neuroscience pipeline and extramural grant funding were also collected.


The response rate was 32% (n = 254) for nonchair researchers and 58% (n = 67) for department chairs. Researcher respondents were on average 50 years old, 66% were men, and 81% were actively conducting clinical research, with phase II/III clinical trials and outcome measure studies being the most common type of research conducted. Time to conduct research, recruitment, and administrative burden were the major barriers reported. According to department chairs, funding and training opportunities in patient-oriented research have increased over the last 10 years. Overall, applicants to neuroscience-specific NIH institutes for extramural funding have decreased over the same time period.


The state of clinical research in neurology has remained relatively stable over the last 10 years, but neurologists still have barriers in conducting clinical research. There has been an interval decrease in neuroscience applicants for NIH funding, which raises concerns about the pipeline and future of clinical research in neurology. These results will serve as a reference for the development of solutions to these issues.

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