No consensus yet exists on how to handle incidental fnd-ings in human subjects research. Yet empirical studies document IFs in a wide range of research studies, where IFs are fndings beyond the aims of the study that are of potential health or reproductive importance to the individual research participant. This paper reports recommendations of a two-year project group funded by NIH to study how to manage IFs in genetic and genomic research, as well as imaging research. We conclude that researchers (...) have an obligation to address the possibility of discovering IFs in their protocol and communications with the IRB, and in their consent forms and communications with research participants. Researchers should establish a pathway for handling IFs and communicate that to the IRB and research participants. We recommend a pathway and categorize IFs into those that must be disclosed to research participants, those that may be disclosed, and those that should not be disclosed. (shrink)
The use of magnetic resonance imaging to investigate brain structure and function has become increasingly common among neuroscientists, psychologists, and even economists in recent years. Yet, despite this increase in use, relatively little attention has been paid to the issue of incidental fndings. The current paper discusses these issues, and anticipates the future of incidental fndings in the context of other neuroimaging tools currently being used to investigate the living brain.