Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New ethical guidelines needed for dementia research

Date:
March 29, 2010
Source:
Uppsala University
Summary:
How do we handle the ethical dilemmas of research on adults who can't give their informed consent? Ethicists propose a new approach to the dilemma of including dementia patients and others with limited decision making capabilities in research.

How do we handle the ethical dilemmas of research on adults who can't give their informed consent? In a recent article in the journal Bioethics, ethicist Stefan Eriksson proposes a new approach to the dilemma of including dementia patients and others with limited decision making capabilities in research.

Related Articles


There is a need for research on persons with impaired decision making, for example dementia patients. Without their participation we stand to loose knowledge necessary for future treatments that can benefit these groups. There are ethical guidelines to guard their interests, but they are somewhat ill-guided, says Stefan Eriksson, associate professor of research ethics at the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB).

"We are sometimes led to believe that these guidelines conclusively state that research on these groups is permitted only in exceptional cases, but they don't," he says.

According to Stefan Eriksson, today's guidelines are often arbitrary. On one hand, research that benefits some groups, for example one's own age group, is allowed. On the other hand, research that benefits other groups, for example one's own children or community is not allowed. The previous will or interests expressed by person has little or no weight in these situations.

Another problem that Stefan Eriksson highlights is that some ethical standards simply make no sense for these groups. For example, the idea of a 'minimal risk standard' builds on the idea that there is something ordinary or routine about the risks we take in our daily lives. Such risks should then be acceptable in research as well. This kind of reasoning doesn't work for someone with for example Alzheimer's. The same is true for 'very slight impact' and 'routine examination', notions that doesn't translate well to a person with dementia who might very well react in a very different way than a person without dementia.

"The guidelines that researchers act according to allows for vulnerable persons to be exploited," says Stefan Eriksson.

Instead of trying to translate the norm to those who fall outside it, we need to address the real issues at stake and re-write the guidelines that apply today Stefan Eriksson says. We need to rid them of notions of exceptionality, minimal risk and group beneficence. We also need to monitor this kind of research more closely and provide legal obligations to compensate for any injuries suffered.

He concludes: "But we also need to consider other issues, such as how surrogate decision-makes can be of use to these persons and how to find ways to estimate a dementia patient's capacity for autonomy. We need to continue the debate and do more research on the ethics of research on persons with limited decision-making capacity."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uppsala University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eriksson et al. On the need for improved protections of incapacitated and non-benefiting research subjects. Bioethics, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01804.x

Cite This Page:

Uppsala University. "New ethical guidelines needed for dementia research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329103647.htm>.
Uppsala University. (2010, March 29). New ethical guidelines needed for dementia research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329103647.htm
Uppsala University. "New ethical guidelines needed for dementia research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329103647.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins