Open Access Review

European Network of Bipolar Research Expert Centre (ENBREC): a network to foster research and promote innovative care

Chantal Henry1234*, Ole A Andreassen5, Angelo Barbato6, Jacques Demotes-Mainard7, Guy Goodwin8, Marion Leboyer1234, Eduard Vieta9, Willem A Nolen10, Lars Vedel Kessing11, Jan Scott12, Michael Bauer13 and The ENBREC study group14

Author Affiliations

1 Université Paris-Est, UMR_S955, UPEC, F-94000, Créteil, France

2 Inserm, U955, Equipe Psychiatrie Génétique, F-94000, Créteil, France

3 AP-HP, Hôpital H. Mondor - A. Chenevier, Pôle de Psychiatrie, F-94000, Créteil, France

4 Fondation FondaMental, fondation de coopération scientifique, F-94000, Créteil, France

5 KG Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital & Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

6 Laboratory of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy

7 European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (ECRIN), INSERM, Paris, France

8 University Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

9 Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, ENBREC, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

10 Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

11 Psychiatric Center Copenhagen Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, O 6233, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark

12 Academic Psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

13 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität, Dresden, Germany

14 ENBREC, European Commission, Smith Square, London, UK

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International Journal of Bipolar Disorders 2013, 1:2  doi:10.1186/2194-7511-1-2

Published: 17 April 2013

Abstract

Bipolar disorders rank as one of the most disabling illnesses in working age adults worldwide. Despite this, the quality of care offered to patients with this disorder is suboptimal, largely due to limitations in our understanding of the pathology. Improving this scenario requires the development of a critical mass of expertise and multicentre collaborative projects. Within the framework of the European FP7 programme, we developed a European Network of Bipolar Research Expert Centres (ENBREC) designed specifically to facilitate EU-wide studies. ENBREC provides an integrated support structure facilitating research on disease mechanisms and clinical outcomes across six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK). The centres are adopting a standardised clinical assessment that explores multiple aspects of bipolar disorder through a structured evaluation designed to inform clinical decision-making as well as being applicable to research. Reliable, established measures have been prioritised, and instruments have been translated and validated when necessary. An electronic healthcare record and monitoring system (e-ENBREC©) has been developed to collate the data. Protocols to conduct multicentre clinical observational studies and joint studies on cognitive function, biomarkers, genetics, and neuroimaging are in progress; a pilot study has been completed on strategies for routine implementation of psycho-education. The network demonstrates ‘proof of principle’ that expert centres across Europe can collaborate on a wide range of basic science and clinical programmes using shared protocols. This paper is to describe the network and how it aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of research in a neglected priority area.

Keywords:
Bipolar disorder; Clinical practice; Research networks; Standards of care