There is little published literature on the ethical concerns of stakeholders in HIV vaccine trials. This study explored the ethical challenges identified by various stakeholders, through an open-ended, in-depth approach. While the few previous studies have been largely quantitative, respondents in this study had the opportunity to spontaneously identify the issues that they perceived to be of priority concern in the South African context. Stakeholders spontaneously identified the following as ethical priorities: informed consent, social harms, collaborative relationships between research stakeholders, (...) the participation of children and adolescents, access to treatment for participants who become infected with HIV, physical harms, fair participant and community selection, confidentiality, benefits, and payment. While there is some speculation that research in developing countries poses special ethical challenges, overall no issues were identified that have not been anticipated in international guidance, literature and popular frameworks. However, the South African context affords a distinctive gloss to these expected issues; for example, respondents were concerned that the predominant selection of black participants may perpetuate racist practices of apartheid. Stakeholders should be aware of contextual factors impacting on the implementation of ethical principles. We make a series of recommendations for South African trials, including amendments to the ethical-legal framework and research policies, and, for further research. (shrink)
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have significantly impacted on the politics of health research and the field of bioethics. In the global HIV epidemic, CSOs have served a pivotal stakeholder role. The dire need for development of new prevention technologies has raised critical challenges for the ethical engagement of community stakeholders in HIV research. This study explored the perspectives of CSO representatives involved in HIV prevention trials (HPTs) on the impact of premature trial closures on stakeholder engagement. Fourteen respondents from South (...) African and international CSOs representing activist and advocacy groups, community mobilisation initiatives, and human and legal rights groups were purposively sampled based on involvement in HPTs. Interviews were conducted from February-May 2010. Descriptive analysis was undertaken across interviews and key themes were developed inductively. CSO representatives largely described positive outcomes of recent microbicide and HIV vaccine trial terminations, particularly in South Africa, which they attributed to improvements in stakeholder engagement. Ongoing challenges to community engagement included the need for principled justifications for selective stakeholder engagement at strategic time-points, as well as the need for legitimate alternatives to CABs as mechanisms for engagement. Key issues for CSOs in relation to research were also raised. (shrink)
The acquisition of expertise in formal problem solving has been assumed to involve either a shift from backwards to forwards inference, or a shift from unguided to guided forwards inference. In a longitudinal study, the acquisition of formal problem-solving expertise was investigated. Participants were tested as novices before undertaking controlled practice in the problem domain which involved transformation rule problems , and were finally tested as experts. The direction of inference in problem solutions was found to be inadequate to describe (...) the strategic differences between novices and experts. Therefore, a new solution coding system was applied, based on atomic components of problem solution. Analysis of novice and expert solutions revealed no systematic strategy in the novice stage solutions were confused and contained unproductive steps and backtracking. Several strategies were found in the expert solutions, but they did not agree with previously reported results. It was therefore proposed that the acquisition of expertise does not involve a change from one specific solution strategy to another, but rather the development of an efficient strategy, which can differ between participants. (shrink)
Although Humphreys & Forde's HIT provides a comprehensive account of category-specific deficits, standard models of categorization and identification may also be able to explain many aspects of such deficits. The assumptions of an exemplar-based account of category- specific deficits are presented, and it is argued that exemplar models may be able to explain key findings on impaired object identification and categorization.
Scale is central to understanding nanotechnologies. These technologies are usually described as the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, with one nanometer being 10^-9 meter. At this scale, some materials gain new properties that can be used in the creation of new products. These properties may contribute to economic growth and social welfare but, conversely, they may also create negative effects, such as new risks to human health and the environment. As an emerging field whose consequences are still (...) uncertain, the meanings of nanotechnologies are hotly contested. (shrink)