Assessment of outcome in preclinical studies of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is heterogenous. Through an ARUK Scottish Network supported questionnaire and workshop (mostly UK-based researchers), we aimed to determine underlying variability and what could be implemented to overcome identified challenges. Twelve UK VCI research centres were identified and invited to complete a questionnaire and attend a one-day workshop. Questionnaire responses demonstrated agreement that outcome assessments in VCI preclinical research vary by group and even those common across groups, may be performed differently. From the workshop, 6 themes were discussed: issues with preclinical models, reasons for choosing functional assessments, issues in interpretation of functional assessments, describing and reporting functional outcome assessments, sharing resources and expertise, and standardization of outcomes. Eight consensus points emerged demonstrating broadly that the chosen assessment should reflect the deficit being measured and therefore, that one assessment does not suit all models; guidance/standardisation on recording VCI outcome reporting is needed and that uniformity would be aided by a platform to share expertise, material, protocols and procedures thus reducing heterogeneity and so increasing potential for collaboration, comparison and replication. As a result of the workshop, UK wide consensus statements were agreed and future priorities for preclinical research identified.
FUNDING: The workshop was supported through an ARUK Scottish Network small grant. PMB is Stroke Association Professor, Stroke Medicine and a NIHR Senior Investigator. Several of the authors are members of the Dementias Platform UK Vascular experimental medicine group (AHH, KH, RC, RNK, SMA, TJQ). AMcF is supported by a BHF PhD studentship (FS/15/64/32035) and TMH a Cunningham Trust PhD studentship (CU15007.0001).
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We are grateful to the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow for hosting the meeting.
- vascular cognitive impairment