418 research outputs found

    Temporal inabilities and decision-making capacity in depression

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    We report on an interview-based study of decision-making capacity in two classes of patients suffering from depression. Developing a method of second-person hermeneutic phenomenology, we articulate the distinctive combination of temporal agility and temporal inability characteristic of the experience of severely depressed patients. We argue that a cluster of decision-specific temporal abilities is a critical element of decision-making capacity, and we show that loss of these abilities is a risk factor distinguishing severely depressed patients from mildly/moderately depressed patients. We explore the legal and clinical consequences of this result

    The role of causal knowledge in stigma considerations in African genomics research

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    Introduction: Advances in genomics research have raised several ethical concerns. One concern is the potential impact of genomics research on stigma experienced by people affected by a disease. Studies have found that the type of illness as well as disease causal beliefs impact on the relation between genetic attribution and stigma. This study explored the potential impact of genetic attribution of disease on stigma among Xhosa people with Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). Methods: Study participants were 46 Xhosa people with RHD living in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Using video vignettes in 7 focus group discussions we explored whether and how genetic attribution may impact on disease-stigma. Vignettes introduced participants to non-genetic and genetic causal explanations and were followed-up with a series of open-ended questions eliciting their perceptions of non-genetic disease causes as well as genetic causation and its impact on internalised stigma. Results: This study found that Xhosa people with RHD have a general understanding of genetics and genetic attribution for disease. Additionally, and not withstanding their genetic knowledge, these participants hold multiple disease causal beliefs including genetic, infectious disease, psychosocial, behavioural and cultural explanations. While there was evidence of internalised stigma experiences among participants, these appeared not to be related to a genetic attribution to the disease. Discussion: The findings of this study provide clues as to why it is unlikely that a genetic conceptualisation of disease impacts internalised stigma experiences of Xhosa people. The causal explanations provided by participants reflect their cultural understandings and their context, namely, living in low-income and poverty-stricken environments. Divergence in these findings from much of the evidence from high-income countries emphasises that context matters when considering the impact of genetic attribution on stigma and caution against generalising findings from one part of the globe to another

    Depression, possibilities, and competence: A phenomenological perspective

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    Competent decision-making is required for informed consent. In this paper, I aim, from a phenomenological perspective, to identify the specific facets of competent decision-making that may form a challenge to depressed patients. On a phenomenological account, mood and emotions are crucial to the way in which human beings encounter the world. More precisely, mood is intimately related to the options and future possibilities we perceive in the world around us. I examine how possibilities should be understood in this context, and how, in depression, decision-making might be compromised. I suggest that, based on this analysis, a specific emphasis and alertness in assessments of competence in depressed patients is called for. In fact, close attention should be paid to the range of future possibilities depressed patients are able to perceive. In addition, providing environmental cues to these patients might be one way of enhancing their decision-making capacity. The practical suggestions arrived at are open to empirical research

    Ethical issues at the interface of clinical care and research practice in pediatric oncology: a narrative review of parents' and physicians' experiences

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    Contains fulltext : 97879.pdf (publisher's version ) (Open Access)BACKGROUND: Pediatric oncology has a strong research culture. Most pediatric oncologists are investigators, involved in clinical care as well as research. As a result, a remarkable proportion of children with cancer enrolls in a trial during treatment. This paper discusses the ethical consequences of the unprecedented integration of research and care in pediatric oncology from the perspective of parents and physicians. METHODOLOGY: An empirical ethical approach, combining (1) a narrative review of (primarily) qualitative studies on parents' and physicians' experiences of the pediatric oncology research practice, and (2) comparison of these experiences with existing theoretical ethical concepts about (pediatric) research. The use of empirical evidence enriches these concepts by taking into account the peculiarities that ethical challenges pose in practice. RESULTS: Analysis of the 22 studies reviewed revealed that the integration of research and care has consequences for the informed consent process, the promotion of the child's best interests, and the role of the physician (doctor vs. scientist). True consent to research is difficult to achieve due to the complexity of research protocols, emotional stress and parents' dependency on their child's physician. Parents' role is to promote their child's best interests, also when they are asked to consider enrolling their child in a trial. Parents are almost never in equipoise on trial participation, which leaves them with the agonizing situation of wanting to do what is best for their child, while being fearful of making the wrong decision. Furthermore, a therapeutic misconception endangers correct assessment of participation, making parents inaccurately attribute therapeutic intent to research procedures. Physicians prefer the perspective of a therapist over a researcher. Consequently they may truly believe that in the research setting they promote the child's best interests, which maintains the existence of a therapeutic misconception between them and parents. CONCLUSION: Due to the integration of research and care, their different ethical perspectives become intertwined in the daily practice of pediatric oncology. Increasing awareness of what this means for the communication between parents and physicians is essential. Future research should focus on efforts that overcome the problems that the synchronicity of research and care evokes

    Expression of therapeutic misconception amongst Egyptians: a qualitative pilot study

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Studies have shown that research participants fail to appreciate the difference between research and medical care, labeling such phenomenon as a "therapeutic misconception" (TM). Since research activity involving human participants is increasing in the Middle East, qualitative research investigating aspects of TM is warranted. Our objective was to assess for the existence of therapeutic misconception amongst Egyptians.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p><it>Study Tool: </it>We developed a semi-structured interview guide to elicit the knowledge, attitudes, and perspectives of Egyptians regarding medical research.</p> <p><it>Setting: </it>We recruited individuals from the outpatient settings (public and private) at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.</p> <p><it>Analysis: </it>Interviews were taped, transcribed, and translated. We analyzed the content of the transcribed text to identify the presence of a TM, defined in one of two ways: TM<sub>1 </sub>= inaccurate beliefs about how individualized care can be compromised by the procedures in the research and TM<sub>2 </sub>= inaccurate appraisal of benefit obtained from the research study.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Our findings showed that a majority of participants (11/15) expressed inaccurate beliefs regarding the degree with which individualized care will be maintained in the research setting (TM<sub>1</sub>) and a smaller number of participants (5/15) manifested an unreasonable belief in the likelihood of benefits to be obtained from a research study (TM<sub>2</sub>). A total of 12 of the 15 participants were judged to have expressed a TM on either one of these bases.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The presence of TM is not uncommon amongst Egyptian individuals. We recommend further qualitative studies investigating aspects of TM involving a larger sample size distinguished by different types of illnesses and socio-economic variables, as well as those who have and have not participated in clinical research.</p

    Distinctive aspects of consent in pilot and feasibility studies

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    Prior to a main randomized clinical trial, investigators often carry out a pilot or feasibility study in order to test certain trial processes or estimate key statistical parameters, so as to optimize the design of the main trial and/or determine whether it can feasibly be run. Pilot studies reflect the design of the intended main trial, whereas feasibility studies may not do so, and may not involve allocation to different treatments. Testing relative clinical effectiveness is not considered an appropriate aim of pilot or feasibility studies. However, consent is no less important than in a main trial as a means of morally legitimizing the investigator's actions. Two misperceptions are central to consent in clinical studies-therapeutic misconception (a tendency to conflate research and therapy) and therapeutic misestimation (a tendency to overestimate possible benefits and/or underestimate possible harms associated with participation). These phenomena may take a distinctive form in pilot and feasibility studies, owing to potential participants' likely prior unfamiliarity with the nature and purposes of such studies. Thus, participants may confuse the aims of a pilot or feasibility study (developing or optimizing trial design and processes) with those of a main trial (testing treatment effectiveness) and base consent on this misconstrual. Similarly, a misunderstanding of the ability of pilot and feasibility studies to provide information that will inform clinical care, or the underdeveloped nature of interventions included in such studies, may lead to inaccurate assessments of the objective possibility of benefit, and weaken the epistemic basis of consent accordingly. Equipoise may also be particularly challenging to grasp in the context of a pilot study. The consent process in pilot and feasibility studies requires a particular focus, and careful communication, if it is to carry the appropriate moral weight. There are corresponding implications for the process of ethical approval

    Exploring the similarities and differences between medical assessments of competence and criminal responsibility

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    The medical assessments of criminal responsibility and competence to consent to treatment are performed, developed and debated in distinct domains. In this paper I try to connect these domains by exploring the similarities and differences between both assessments. In my view, in both assessments a decision-making process is evaluated in relation to the possible influence of a mental disorder on this process. I will argue that, in spite of the relevance of the differences, both practices could benefit from the recognition of this similarity. For cooperative research could be developed directed at elucidating exactly how various mental disturbances can affect decision-making processes
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