Biomarker time out

Axel Petzold, Robert Bowser, Paolo Calabresi, Henrik Zetterberg, Bernard M J Uitdehaag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advancement of knowledge relies on scientific investigations. The timing between asking a question and data collection defines if a study is prospective or retrospective. Prospective studies look forward from a point in time, are less prone to bias and are considered superior to retrospective studies.This conceptual framework conflicts with the nature of biomarker research. New candidate biomarkers are discovered in a retrospective manner. There are neither resources nor time for prospective testing in all cases. Relevant sources for bias are not covered. Ethical questions arise through the time penalty of an overly dogmatic concept.The timing of sample collection can be separated from testing biomarkers. Therefore the moment of formulating a hypothesis may be after sample collection was completed. A conceptual framework permissive to asking research questions without the obligation to bow to the human concept of calendar time would simplify biomarker research, but will require new safeguards against bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1560-1563
Number of pages4
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 11 2014


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • bias
  • Biomarker study design
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson syndrome
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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