Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cognitively-impaired human research subjects need better protection

08.12.2010
Study finds wide variability in ethics board practices

Practices for protecting human research subjects with Alzheimer's disease and other conditions that make them incapable of giving informed consent are widely variable and in need of more concrete ethical and legal guidance, according to a study in IRB: Ethics & Human Research.

The findings are significant for several reasons. First of all, the authors write, many countries have made research on dementia a national health priority and launched clinical trials that involve people who are, or are likely to become, cognitively impaired. These trials increasingly involve invasive interventions which may pose more than minimal risk. And yet throughout the world, regulations and guidelines provide little direction to ethics review committees about how best to protect these people – and about who can make decisions on their behalf.

The new study, part of a larger Canadian research program called Substitute Consent for Research in Elderly Subjects (SCORES), involved telephone interviews with 46 research ethics board chairs in Canada, assessing their attitudes toward enrolling in clinical trials older adults without decision-making capacity and asking what safeguards they would require. Twenty respondents said they had reviewed research protocols involving such persons during the past year and all allowed them to participate in research under certain conditions, such as minimal risks or consent from a substitute decision-maker.

More than half of the ethics board chairs said that they required additional protections for this population, such as assessing decisional capacity. "Yet the fact that some REBs [research ethics boards] did not require these additional safeguards is cause for concern," wrote the researchers. Four allowed older adults without decision-making capacity to participate in minimal risk studies that could benefit them personally, even when there was no one legally authorized to provide substitute consent. The authors raised concerns about this practice, though they acknowledged that the legal requirement regarding substitute consent for research is unclear in the provinces where those REBs are located.

Given the variability in research protections for older adults with cognitive impairment, the researchers "recommend that policy-makers and stakeholders consider developing appropriate protective measures for this population."

The lead author is Gina Bravo, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, at the University of Sherbrook, and Research Centre on Aging, University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke in Quebec. Coauthors are from University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke, Dalhousie Law School in Halifax, and University of Toronto.

Michael Turton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.thehastingscenter.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>