The Therapeutic Misconception: A Threat to Valid Parental Consent for Paediatric Neuroimaging Research
15(3) Accountability in Research 133, 2008
14 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2008
Neuroimaging research has brought major advances to child health and well-being. However, because of the vulnerabilities associated with neurological and developmental conditions, the parental need for hope, and the expectation of parents that new medical advances can benefit their child, pediatric neuroimaging research presents significant challenges to the general problem of consent in the context of research involving children. A particular challenge in this domain is created by the presence of therapeutic misconception on the part of parents and other key research stakeholders. This article reviews the concept of therapeutic misconception and its role in pediatric neuroimaging research. It argues that this misconception can compromise consent given by parents for the involvement of their children in research as healthy controls or as persons with neurological and developmental conditions. The article further contends that therapeutic misconception can undermine the research ethics review process for proposed and ongoing neuroimaging studies. Against this backdrop, the article concludes with recommendations for mitigating the effects of therapeutic misconception in pediatric neuroimaging research.
Keywords: consent, institutional review boards, pediatric neuroimaging, regulation of research, research ethics, therapeutic misconception
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