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Informed Consent and Placebo Effects on Treatment

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Discuss your thoughts about the ethics of using informed consent vs. blinding the subjects to the expected outcomes of the intervention. Should they be told? How much should they be told? How would the placebo effect be impacted if subjects are told which intervention is being applied to them?

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It's important to distinguish the fact that we're talking about interventions and thus a treatment, in this case. If this were a research study wherein the actions we partake on the subject would not incur harm, then the whole ethics question changes. So, for an intervention or a treatment, we're looking at it from a purely medical point of view.

In medical ethics, patient autonomy ranks pretty highly as a necessity, and as an extension of this is the fact that they must consent to treatment, and be informed of the risks and benefits of such treatments before being asked to consent to them. Arguments against informed consent and instead blinding patients to these interventions are often dubious, and since you've brought up the placebo effect ...

Solution Summary

A brief discussion on:
1) The placebo effect on interventions if a patient is told what the intervention will be
2) The necessity of informed consent in treatments despite placebo effects

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Process of Obtaining Informed Consent for Pediatric Clinical Trial Participants

Imagine you are part of a medical research team, and are tasked with gaining informed consent from potential participants. The study will seek to test an experimental drug with patients suffering from late-stage leukemia. The sample will be divided into a control group and the experimental group. Participants in the control group will be given a placebo, which could increase the progression of their disease. The sample will be composed of children.

Discuss how you would go about seeking the consent of participants.

What questions would you expect from their parents/guardians?
How much information should you share with the children?
Should this type of study involve children, given the risks of speeding the progression of the disease?

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