A New Challenge for Research Ethics: Incidental Findings in Neuroimaging

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (1):59-65 (2011)
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Abstract

It has become evident that neuroimaging raises new normative questions that cannot be addressed adequately within the (in this regard unspecific) frameworks of existing research ethics. Questions that are especially troubling are, among others, provoked by incidental findings. Two questions are particularly intricate in view of incidental findings: (1) How can the research subject’s right not to know be guaranteed? And (2) should a diagnostic check of scans by a neuroradiologist become an obligatory part of neuroscientific research protocols? The present paper examines these question against the background of two recent recommendations. The differentiation between difference position and similarity position serves as an analytic tool to further investigate the issue and to develop a distinct proposal for answering the questions

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Bert Heinrichs
Universität Bonn