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#MeToo and Health Research Ethics – The Hastings Center (Kathleen Bachynski | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 26, 2019
 

As a public health researcher interested in brain injuries in sports, I was searching for peer-reviewed literature that examined cultural pressures that cause athletes to minimize symptoms of potentially serious injuries when I came across a 1994 article entitled, “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody: A Photo-Essay on the Normalization of Sport Injuries.” The identity of one of the authors cast the study in a suspicious light: Dr. Richard Strauss, the Ohio State University physician who has been accused by more than 100 former students of sexual abuse.

His article was a “visual study” with numerous photos of student wrestlers. It claimed to “convey some of the details and social ambiance of today’s approach to collegiate sports medicine.”  A research method that involves photographing injured students, both at the time of injury and while undergoing medical examinations and surgical procedures, also involves significant intimate contact with a vulnerable population. In such circumstances, patients must be able to fully trust the researcher’s integrity, honesty, and respect for persons.

The irony that a doctor accused of groping his patients’ genitalia also studied the cultural belief that “a little pain never hurt anybody” astonishes me. Furthermore, I am concerned about the implications of accused serial sexual abusers publishing in academic literature: that they can use their position of authority to not only enhance their professional status but also to shape academic knowledge. According to Google Scholar, at least 117 articles have cited Strauss’ photo-essay. One 2005 article described it as an example of how the technique of photo-interviewing provided “a way to get people to talk about more difficult and abstract concepts.”

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(Australia Queensland case) Universal Medicine research conducted by devotees won’t be pulled by Queensland uni – ABC (Josh Robertson | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 25, 2019
 

A top Australian university has stood by studies into the health benefits of a group that a jury found was a “dangerous cult” making false healing claims, despite its own medical researchers failing to disclose they were devotees.

The investigation finding, as reported by the ABC, isn’t the most bewildering/troubling element of this case – but it’s pretty close.

A 10-month investigation by the University of Queensland (UQ) has cleared the researchers of academic misconduct despite finding they did not fully detail their involvement with Universal Medicine (UM).
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The studies were published in overseas journals and explored the benefits of UM treatments including “esoteric breast massage” and proposed clinical studies in Vietnamese hospitals that would be forbidden in Australia.
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China to tighten rules on gene editing in humans – Nature (David Cyranoski | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 21, 2019
 

In the wake of the gene-edited-baby scandal, scientists and institutions could face tough penalties for breaking the rules.

China’s health ministry has issued draft regulations that will restrict the use of gene editing in humans, just three months after Chinese researcher He Jiankui announced that twin girls had been born with edited genomes. The proposal includes severe penalties for those who break the rules. If approved, scientists say the policy could have gains and drawbacks for research.

The draft regulations, issued by the National Health Commission on 26 February, state that gene editing in any type of cell that will end up in humans, including embryos, will need the commission’s approval, as will other high-risk biomedical procedures.

The regulations come in response to He’s claim, in late November, that he used the gene-editing technology CRISPR–Cas9 to alter the genomes of embryos — a process known as germline editing — to make them resistant to HIV. He then implanted the edited embryos into women. News that twin girls had been born as a result of these experiments prompted an international outcry about He’s use of a risky and unproven technology.

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Major medical journals don’t follow their own rules for reporting results from clinical trials – Science (Jocelyn Kaiser | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 19, 2019
 

It’s a well-known problem with clinical trials: Researchers start out saying they will look for a particular outcome—heart attacks, for example—but then report something else when they publish their results. That practice can make a drug or treatment look like it’s safer or more effective than it actually is. Now, a systematic effort to find out whether major journals are complying with their own pledge to ensure that outcomes are reported correctly has found many are falling down on the job—and both journals and authors are full of excuses.

To accompany this report in Science on the troubling findings by the COMPare team, we have included links to 23 news reports and papers on the conduct and reporting of clinical trials.

When journals and researchers were asked to correct studies, the responses “were fascinating, and alarming. Editors and researchers routinely misunderstand what correct trial reporting looks like,” says project leader Ben Goldacre, an author and physician at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and a proponent of transparency in drug research.
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Starting 4 years ago, his team’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Outcome Monitoring Project (COMPare) project examined all trials published over 6 weeks in five journals: Annals of Internal Medicine, The BMJ, JAMA, The Lancet, and The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The study topics ranged from the health effects of drinking alcohol for diabetics to a comparison of two kidney cancer drugs. All five journals have endorsed long-established Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guidelines. One CONSORT rule is that authors should describe the outcomes they plan to study before a trial starts and stick to that list when they publish the trial.
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