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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(Queensland, Australia) Analysis challenges slew of studies claiming ocean acidification alters fish behavior – Scienced0

Posted by Admin in on January 11, 2020
 

Over the past decade, marine scientists published a series of studies warning that humanity’s burgeoning carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could cause yet another devastating problem. They reported that seawater acidified by rising CO2—already known to threaten organisms with carbonate shells and skeletons, such as corals—could also cause profound, alarming changes in the behavior of fish on tropical reefs. The studies, some of which made headlines, found that acidification can disorient fish, make them hyperactive or bolder, alter their vision, and lead them to become attracted to, rather than repelled by, the smell of predators. Such changes, researchers noted, could cause populations to plummet.

But in a Nature paper published today, researchers from Australia, Canada, Norway, and Sweden challenge a number of those findings. In a major, 3-year effort that studied six fish species, they could not replicate three widely reported behavioral effects of ocean acidification. The replication team notes that many of the original studies came from the same relatively small group of researchers and involved small sample sizes. That and other “methodological or analytical weaknesses” may have led the original studies astray, they argue.

“It’s an exceptionally thorough replication effort,” says Tim Parker, a biologist and an advocate for replication studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Marine scientist Andrew Esbaugh of the University of Texas, Austin, agrees that it’s “excellent, excellent work.”

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How about personally optimized treatment? – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 31, 2019
 

It is well known that patients who are asked to participate in cancer trials are tempted by the therapeutic misconception. They believe they are offered a newer and better treatment, when in fact it is about research into an untested treatment. When researchers use genetic tests to develop personalized oncology, even more misconceptions can arise. I will soon explain. But first, what is personalized cancer treatment? Here is an example.

Patients whose tumor is to be operated may undergo preparatory radiation or chemotherapy. Since the preparatory therapy has severe side effects, one wants to avoid giving it to patients whose tumors do not respond to it. The challenge is to distinguish patients who respond to treatment from patients who do not. This is to be accomplished through, among other things, genetic tests on the tumor cells. If this works, you can develop personalized cancer treatment. Patients with the “right” tumor cell genetics receive the preparatory therapy, while patients who, according to the genetic tests, only get the side effects, with no effect on tumor growth, do not receive the therapy.

What are the misconceptions that can arise in patients who are asked to participate in research on personalized cancer treatment? Here are some examples.

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Holiday funny – New Years resolutions for your research ethics committee0

Posted by Admin in on December 31, 2019
 

Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com
Full-size image for printing (right mouse click and save file)

Anyone who has served on, supported or observed meetings of research ethics committees will recognise these unhelpful behaviours.  The full-sized version might be a fun and cheeky cover page for your first meeting in the New Year.  Send an email to enquiry@ahrecs.com if you would like to discuss coaching or professional development for your research ethics committee.  This can be done remotely via video link.

International Policy Frameworks for Consent in Minimal-risk Pragmatic Trials (Papers: Tanya J. Symons, et al | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 17, 2019
 

Abstract

There is intense debate around the use of altered and waived consent for pragmatic trials. Those in favor argue that traditional consent compromises the internal and external validity of these trials. Those against, warn that the resultant loss of autonomy compromises respect for persons and could undermine trust in the research enterprise.

This article examines whether international ethical guidelines and the policy frameworks in three countries—the United States, England, and Australia—permit altered and waived consent for minimal-risk pragmatic trials conducted outside the emergency setting. Provisions for both are clearly articulated in U.S. regulations, but many countries do not have equivalent frameworks. Investigators should not assume that all consent models permitted in the United States are legal in their jurisdictions, even if they are deemed ethically defensible.

The authors summarize ethical and regulatory considerations and present a framework for investigators contemplating trials with altered or waived consent.

Symons, T.J., Zeps, N., Myles, P.S., Morris, J.M. & Sessler, D.I. (2019) International Policy Frameworks for Consent in Minimal-risk Pragmatic Trials. Anesthesiology 2020;132(1):44-54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003020.
Publisher: https://anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org/article.aspx?articleid=2756350

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