Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Group 1: case 13 & 17

In today's discussion we evaluated the ethics of participants chosen for research trials, are current methods of informing individuals of potential risks in research trials ethical? Does the researcher take advantage of individuals who are ignorant or desperate for money, as presented by McGee? We came to the consensus that there should be stricter protocols on the extent  of informing individuals that desire to participate in research experiments. If a participant "understands" the risks involved in a particular experiment then nothing else can be done to further protect them, as an adult they have made their decision.
Case 17 dealt with performance enhancing drugs, the discussion went on a tangent with the question, does Lance Armstrong deserved to have his Tour de France titles taken if indeed "everyone" in cycling uses PEDs. I personally don't think we could make the assumption that PEDs are used by every cyclist in the race, and I think those that placed last during the 7 Tour de France races that Lance won would agree with me. Nevertheless, I think McGee was trying to point out the flaws in the arguments presented by those opposed to any type of performance enhancement, whether that be a facelift or steroids. McGee seemed to make the stand that there should be a distinction between good Performance enhancements and bad performance enhancements, if there is a distinction at all. Will these good performance enhancements become a new way of life? Do they provide a way to be better?


  1. I suppose the distinction could be made between performance enhancers that may have a negative impact on the health of the competitor in the short or long term and those that will not. Then there is the argument that ANYTHING that unnaturally enhances performance is "unfair" and should be banned. But in that case, where is the line drawn? Freshly infused blood is technically "natural" but the act of doing so is not, so it is an unapproved form of performance enhancement. Does having your testicles removed make you unfairly more aerodynamic as well?

  2. We already touched on this point in our discussion but I think that there is only so much the researcher can do or explain to the participant before they carry out the experiment. What is important, however, is that there is an accepted degree of explanation that the research must deliver. That is, the participant must receive a detailed statement of the process ahead of them and receive in such a way that is considered reasonably understandable for the general public. The case study describes a particular experiment being conducted in an hotel with chipped paint walls and urine-stained linoleum floors. This is not what I'd consider, nor would I expect this to be generally, acceptable. The fact is that all trials will eventually be tested on humans. There must be the first human in which a procedure or medication is given to; Should human experimentation be removed, these people simply become the first test subjects.

    Side note: Group 1, I will be absent tomorrow. I had to have an unexpected abdominal surgery this weekend. Hopefully, I'll be back by Wednesday.

  3. Get better, Tim! I couldn't agree more with Timothy's comment on the subject. Simply put, time must be taken to insure that a mutual level of understanding is in place before the first experimental subject is allowed to engage. It might not be a bad idea to test the subjects on their knowledge of the dangers or risks through a small exam or such.

  4. I definitely think there should be a mutual understanding between the participants, but to what extent should we go to make sure these participants are not "ignorant"? As long as there is a specific practice and requirements that are followed, I think that is all we can do. There should we ethical behavior, and researchers should be held responsible, however I'm just not sure where we draw the line for who is responsible when you expect the responsibility to lie in the participants hands to know the consequences when paid for their participation. I feel almost in any Job you enter a "contract" knowing you will be paid or compensated for your time, but there may be consequences for each job you participate in.