Research Center

Research Center

The University Institute has strengthened during 2019, as a research center, the activity of translation and clinical innovation from its different strategic programs and we have strengthened the position of the Institut Guttmann with respect to national and international research organizations.

La confluència entre l’Hospital Especialitzat -Centre d’Excel·lència- i l’Institut Universitari de Neurorehabilitació -Centre de Coneixement- permet optimitzar la generació i transferència de nous coneixements en aquest àmbit especialitzat de la ciència.

The confluence between the Specialized Hospital -Center of Excellence- and the University Institute of Neurorehabilitation -Knowledge Center- allows to optimize the generation and transfer of new knowledge in this specialized field of science.

Its Vision is to be an International Reference in Neurorehabilitation, capable of generating and transmitting new knowledge and continuous innovation in the techniques, procedures and technologies of its field of scientific knowledge and neuroscience in general, through the promotion of an open cooperation network to the participation of other centers of excellence, universities, technological centers, companies and entities, national and international.

To this end, the Institut Guttmann works on 6 main lines of translational research and innovation, based on:

  1. Promote the development and incorporation of new knowledge in the field of neuroscience, bioengineering and medical technologies.
  2. Integrate the actions carried out in the field of clinical and translational research, to favor better care alternatives.
  3. Encourage the establishment of alliances, agreements or cooperation agreements with institutions and entities related to our organization.

In 2019 it is worth mentioning in terms of Research and Innovation:

– In the field of Technologies for sensory-motor rehabilitation and support products, we have started our participation in the EIT-Health program, through the ABLE project aimed at the clinical validation of the ABLE light robotic skeleton; and we have promoted the incorporation of virtual reality in clinical practice, based on the needs and requirements of users identified by our professionals.

– That we have established a collaboration agreement with BUSQUEDA to encourage the establishment of synergies with other centers and advance in the accreditation process and we have progressed in collaboration with the World Health Organization since participating in the “Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 Meeting” to enhance rehabilitation as a strategic element for sustainable development. We have also achieved the renewal of participation in the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Health Aeging where we participate together with the Agency for Quality and Health Assessment of Catalonia (Aqua).

– Regarding Neurorepair and advanced therapies, we have received the “Mike Lane Scholarship” from the Castellers entity in Vila de Gracia, for research in spinal cord transcutaneous stimulation with the aim of improving respiratory function in people with spinal cord injuries at cervical or thoracic level. We have also driven the development of transcutaneous spinal neuromodulation programs combined with intensive rehabilitation and robotic systems.

– That in relation to neuropsychological rehabilitation, cognitive stimulation has successfully completed the project “INNOBRAIN: New technologies for innovation in rehabilitation and cognitive stimulation”, an initiative that is part of the RIS3CAT NextHealth Community. The development and clinical validation of two “Apps” has also been promoted, one for cognitive assessment via mobile and tablet and another for the cognitive training of healthy people, enhancing the gamification characteristics. And thanks to the support of the Atresmedia Corporación Group, which has donated the entire proceeds of its solidarity race this year “Ponle Freno” at the Institut Guttmann, we have been able to improve our cognitive assessment system for safe driving. This system is currently being used by the RACC and the FIA ​​in drivers over the age of 65. The project will allow us to expand the range of people using the system in all age groups of drivers.

– Regarding non-invasive brain stimulation, we have secured funding from the ISCiii to initiate a clinical trial with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to improve the walking ability and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis in collaboration with Vall d’Hebron Hospital.

Regarding brain health research, during 2019 the face-to-face evaluations of the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative project have been moved to the new Guttmann Barcelona building. Besides, an agreement has been signed for the project to collaborate with the European consortium LifeBrain, a project funded by the European Community coordinated by the University of Oslo which combines 13 research studies from 8 European countries to explore the impact of genes, environment and lifestyles on brain health throughout life.

Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI)

Research project for the promotion of Brain Health with the support of “la Caixa”.

The Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI) is the research study promoted by the Institut Guttmann with the outstanding support of “la Caixa” to discover and understand how to maintain brain health throughout life:
– Identifying lifestyle factors and biological mechanisms underlying good brain health that predict the maintenance of behavioral and cognitive health.
– Evaluating the effects of a personalized multidimensional intervention program, focused on lifestyle habits to promote brain health, preserve cognition and reduce chronic diseases by identifying lifestyle factors and biological mechanisms underlying good brain health that predict the maintenance of behavioral and cognitive health.

During 2019, the third year of the project, the BBHI has continued with the online follow-up of the cohort, of more than 4,000 volunteers, to study the impact from lifestyle on brain health, and face-to-face assessments have begun in Guttmann Brain Health Institute (GBHI) Barcelona with more than 800 volunteers.

It should also be noted that we have completed the development and have begun testing the mobile application for the multimodal intervention phase, which allows monitoring of lifestyle habits (sports, sleep, diet, etc.) and cognitive training with cognitively stimulating games. The multimodal intervention phase aims to validate that the design of personalized brain health plans, supported by coaching strategies (having a personal trainer) can help people adopt new healthy lifestyles with a positive impact on their brain health.

The reference group meets at Guttmann Barcelona

On February 20, 2019, the third meeting was held with the “reference group”, a group of 20 volunteers who represented the entire cohort in terms of age, gender, etc. with the aim of gathering their opinions and expectations on various specific areas of the project.

Volunteers fill out the CaixaForum

The III BBHI Volunteer Meeting took place in the CaixaForum auditorium. It was presented by journalist Elisenda Camps and was attended by more than 350 volunteers who almost filled the capacity. At the meeting, the group of researchers presented the new results of the study and some news for 2020: the new Cognitive Assessment App, the Guttmann Cognitest, and the expansion of the study with new projects such as the BBHI Senior (to promote health in people over 65) and the BBHI Resilience (to open participation in the project to people who, with a diagnosed neurological or psychiatric illness, are also interested in improving their brain health and optimizing the resilience of the nervous system).

Impact of the BBHI project

Throughout 2019, the project has been present with stories in the main media in Catalonia and Spain due to the publication of the first results in several articles in scientific journals, as well as the publication of the book “El cerebro que cura” by Álvaro Pascual-Leone and David Bartrés-Faz.

Social Research

In 2019, the Institut Guttmann has made a new commitment to Social Research, with the presentation of the PARTICIPA project, the first research project in social innovation and disability promoted by the Institut Guttmann with the support of the associations present in the Social Council and Participation.

The project will analyze the facilitators and the most relevant barriers to the social participation of people with disabilities. For five years, the participation of people with disabilities will be evaluated and coded based on the International Functionality Classification, CIF, to identify predictive factors and analyze the influence of determinants for their participation.

The goal of the program is to promote the empowerment of participants, but also of society in general, for the effective exercise of their rights. The project, that aims to reach 2,000 volunteers, will help increase the participation of people with disabilities and in return will receive recommendations to do so in an effective and egalitarian way under the motto “Together we remove barriers and build a better society.”


The Research and Innovation Center has continued to participate in the different stable structures of Cooperative Research, being an active part of the following:

– Platform of Innovation in Medical and Sanitary Technologies, ITEMAS. Instituto de Salud Carlos III.
– Tercel Cell Therapy Network. RETICS, Thematic Networks of Cooperative Research. Instituto de Salud Carlos III.
– Thematic Network for Research in Neurotechnologies for Care and Rehabilitation, Neurotec. Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.


In 2019, 23 proposals were submitted for competitive calls for funding for research and innovation projects, aimed at different national and international bodies, with a positive result in 4 of those submitted:

– Programa AXA Chairs 2019, AXA Research Fund
– Programa de Cooperación Internacional de CONICYT, Ministerio de Educación del Gobierno de Chile
– Convocatoria de acciones de CYTED 2019, Programa Iberoamericano
– Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation, 2019 Project Research Grants
– Programa Horizon 2020, Unión Europea
– EIT Health BP 2020 Innovation Projects, EIT Health
– European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases, Unión Europea
– INTERREG Mediterranean, Call for proposals 2019
– Proyectos de Investigación en Salud – Acción Estratégica en Salud 2019, Instituto de Salud Carlos III
– Proyectos de Investigación Clínica Independiente – Acción Estratégica en Salud 2019, Instituto de Salud Carlos III
– Programa Estatal de I + D + i orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad, el Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
– Fundación Universia y Fundación Konecta, Convocatoria de Ayudas a proyectos inclusivos 2019
– Programa Estatal de Generación de Conocimiento, Acciones de dinamización “Redes de Investigación” – Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
– Convocatoria de Investigación Social 2019, Obra Social “La Caixa”
– Convocatoria 2019 Premio “Beca Mike Lane”, Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia
– Programa de impulso del talento y de la empleabilidad del PERIS 2016-2020, Departamento de Salud, Generalitat de Cataluña – LA CAJA Health Research 2019, Fundación La Caixa


During 2019 the Institut Guttmann has worked on 59 research projects, 19 studies and 4 clinical trials.

The team of professionals has published 48 articles in indexed scientific journals, with a cumulative impact factor of 153,356 (16 in the first quartile), 3 articles in non-indexed journals and have participated in a total of 41 Conferences and Congresses both national and international.

Published articles in indexed journals:

Access the articles published during 2019

Published articles in no indexed journals:

– Transcranial magnetic Stimulation: Neurophysiological and clinical applications
Burke MJ, Fried PJ, Pascual-Leone A.
Handb Clin Neurol. 2,019; 163: 73-92. doi: 10.1016 / B978-0-12-804281-6.00005-7. PubMed PMID: 31590749
– Terapia ITB. Guía de referencia Clínica
Benito Penalva, Jesús. Vidal Sansón, Joan
ISBN: 978-84-09-14926-1
– Del Institut Guttmann a los Centros deportivos municipales. Una práctica inclusiva en la ciudad de Barcelona
Yepes, Carlos; Moya, Patricia; Medina, José
Acción Motriz. Revista 23 (Julio-Diciembre 2.019). ISSN 1989-2837