Brain Imaging: Consent Issues, and Licensing of Storage and Analysis

2 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2010

See all articles by Michael C. Bromby

Michael C. Bromby

Truman Bodden Law School; Glasgow Caledonian University

Date Written: December 11, 2009


Notes for the Information Technology Think Tank Meeting, University of Edinburgh, 11th December 2009

The UK's Human Tissue Act 2004 requires holders of human tissue to be licensed and subject to regulation by the Human Tissue Authority. The counterpart legislation in Scotland (Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006) does not enact a similar licensing regime north of the border and holders of human tissue are subject to far less onerous or strict regulations.

Brain imaging does not, however, fit within the broad definition of human tissue as the scan (whether this is numerical data or a pictorial representation of the data) contains no actual tissue. However, analogies can be drawn with the concept of DNA testing as it is frequently the DNA profile (i.e. numerical data or diagram illustrating the data) that is stored and subsequently analysed, although the sample from which the profile is determined may also be stored. Brain imaging cannot be undertaken from a ‘sample’ so here the analogy between brain imaging and DNA cannot be made.

Keywords: Brain Imaging, law

Suggested Citation

Bromby, Michael C., Brain Imaging: Consent Issues, and Licensing of Storage and Analysis (December 11, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Michael C. Bromby (Contact Author)

Truman Bodden Law School ( email )

PO Box 1568
Grand Cayman, KY1-1110
Cayman Islands


Glasgow Caledonian University

United Kingdom

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