ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

ResourcesMedical research

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Years before Heading Offshore, Herpes Researcher Experimented on People in U.S. – Scientific American (Marisa Taylor | November 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on November 28, 2017

Shots were administered in Illinois hotel rooms

Any account of clinical research that refers to agents being administered in a hotel room is unlikely to end on a positive note.

Three years before launching an offshore herpes vaccine trial, an American researcher vaccinated patients in U.S. hotel rooms in brazen violation of U.S. law, a Kaiser Health News investigation has found.

Southern Illinois University associate professor William Halford administered the shots himself at a Holiday Inn Express and a Crowne Plaza Hotel that were a 15-minute drive from the researcher’s SIU lab. Halford injected at least eight herpes patients on four separate occasions in the summer and fall of 2013 with a virus that he created, according to emails from seven participants and interviews with one participant.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Communicating risk in human terms – The Ethics Blog (Pär Segerdahl | October 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on November 26, 2017

The concept of risk used in genetics is a technical term. For the specialist, risk is the probability of an undesired event, for example, that an individual develops some form of cancer. Risk is usually stated as a percentage.

This discussion piece raises an important issue for describing risk to participants across all (sub)disciplines. Talking in percentages is unlikely to be meaningful to most potential participants.

It is well known that patients have difficulties to access the probability notion of risk. What do their difficulties mean?

Technical notions, which experts use in their specialist fields, usually have high status. The attitude is: this is what risk really is. Based on such an attitude, people’s difficulties mean: they have difficulties to understand risk. Therefore, we have to help them understand, by using educational tools that explain to them what we mean (we who know what risk is).

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Global Health Research in an Unequal World: Ethics Case Studies from Africa (Gemma Aellah | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on November 23, 2017

Conducting good, ethical global health research is now more important than ever. Increased global mobility and connectivity mean that in today’s world there is no such thing as ‘local health’. How we experience the effects of disease may be shaped by our particular social and political-economic circumstances, but the sick in one part of the world and the healthy in another are connected through economics, politics, media, and imagination, as well as by the infectiousness of disease. Global health research carried out through transnational collaboration is one crucial way in which people from far-flung geographic regions relate to each other. Good global health research, and the relationships it creates, therefore, concerns us all.

This book is a collection of fictionalized case studies of everyday ethical dilemmas and challenges often encountered in the process of conducting global health research in Africa where the effects of global, political and economic inequality are particularly evident. Our aim is to create a training tool which can begin to fill the gap between research ethics guidelines and their implementation ‘on the ground’. The case studies, therefore, focus on everyday or ‘relational’ ethics: ethical actions and ideas that emerge through relations with others in context, rather than in universal principles or abstract regulations

Aellah, G; Chantler, T; Geissler, PW (2016) Global Health Research in an Unequal World: Ethics Case Studies from Africa CABI: Oxfordshire, UK. Available at:

Battling bad science – TED Talks (Ben Goldacre | 2011)0

Posted by Admin in on November 16, 2017

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.


Watch the 14 minute talk on the TED website

While a few years old and a very familiar topic, this is very watchable and a cogent reflection on why ‘bad science’ is a big problem for us all.