see Clinical research.
see also Medical research.
Comprises “creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.”
It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects, or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research (as opposed to applied research) are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge.
Research performed by neurosurgeons has been always linked to the progress of our specialty, and research training is included in the Neurosurgery Residency Programs in developed countries.
Much neurosurgical research occurs in industry, which allows the advancement of our field to be driven by non-neurosurgeons. Peer-reviewed, extramural funding enables neurosurgeons to drive the process of innovation and understanding.
Funded scientific research within our field is scarce. Procuring funding as a neurosurgeon is challenging. Our dedication to clinical work leaves limited time to manage creative, basic science research. Also, traditional neurosurgical training does not teach us how to compose fundable grants.
Neurosurgery is an innovative and growing field, and we are just beginning to understand the brain and its functions. Research is a core part of neurosurgery training and practice. It is also an excellent way to learn about the field and display your interest in academic medicine. It is not required to complete research, but there is no question that it helps substantially during the application process. High-quality, basic science work is optimal, and if in the area of the neurosciences, even better. Clinical projects with neurosurgeons are looked upon favorably and can yield very strong letters of recommendation if you have shown interest, initiative and delivered a well-done product.
Clinical ResearchAsk faculty if you can become involved in research projects, and follow through with a rough draft of a manuscript in a timely fashion. A fast turn-around with a well-written paper makes you stand out and paves the way for more involvement. First authorship is clearly most desirable. If not possible, however, try and at least present a poster as first author to demonstrate your leadership and mastery of the subject.
Taking a year off to perform research is an option but is absolutely not necessary to match and is only worthwhile if you are truly interested in research. The strongest applicants have several neuroscience investigations with publications completed in the first two years, coupled with clinical research publications performed over the latter two years of medical school. Research conducted prior to medical school is also extremely relevant to your application.
According to the 2014 NRMP Match data, the average number of abstracts, presentations and publications, for those matching into neurosurgery was 12. This is an average, and not a requirement. You should strive for two to five quality publications and demonstrate the effort that you put into the research by presenting these as abstracts and posters at meetings as the first author. It should be stressed, however, that although research is a great plus, many applicants match without significant research contributions.
In Europe, the amount of research neurosurgical residents are required to complete varies widely. Although in most countries an educational plan is provided for the resident, research is not a compulsory part of residency. Different time frames for the implementation of a research component during training in Europe are possible. Post-MD research and MD–PhD programs are accessible in many academic institutions. Research can be done alongside the clinical work, within a temporary halt of the neurosurgical training or at the beginning or the end of the clinical work. In several countries, a 1-year break may be counted toward the required residency time. Established MD–PhD programs in many academic European training centers are a promising chance to integrate research with neurosurgical clinical training at an early point in education, and most commonly, the PhD is completed before starting a residency or early after beginning it 1).
Since the methodology of research related to the basic knowledge of the nervous system function is becoming increasingly complex, it could be proposed that neurosurgeons can not longer contribute to productive research in neurosciences, and this idea might be easily accepted in certain countries such as Spain, where research training is not contemplated in the Residency Program of Neurosurgery. However, all neurosurgeons academic or not, should exhibit a critical and inquiring mentality which enables them to evaluate scientific information and communicate their own clinical experience to the neurosurgical community. Such a critical capacity can not be acquired by a resident trained only in the art of clinical diagnosis and the surgical technique. The new medical practice is based on both basic and clinical-epidemiological research, and the new residents must be immersed into a motivating and inquisitive environment in which the scientific method is continuously applied to the clinical practice. In this paper I consider research training in Neurosurgery in developed countries with the aim of identifying a strategy for introducing a period devoted to research in the Spanish Residency Program. Thus, the methodologies, objectives, contents, duration and the moment for receiving research training in other countries are analysed and some alternatives for solving the problem in our country are pointed out 2).