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Parents don't fully understand biobank research, study finds
Date:7/29/2013

Researchers who collect genetic samples from children for medical research need to explain the process more clearly to parents, according to a new study that suggests many parents don't fully understand the finer details about how these samples will be used and stored. The study was published in June in Genetics in Medicine.

Kim McBride, MD, MS, principal investigator in the Center for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and colleagues followed up with families enrolled in a genetic biobanka storage facility for DNA, genetic data, and tissue samplesafter their initial consent, to find out whether they were fully aware of the nature of their agreement. The results were alarming: more than half of all parents misunderstood key concepts of the study.

Ensuring parental understanding of the consent process is a crucial element of ethical genetics research, says Dr. McBride. For the study, he and his colleagues collected anonymous questionnaires from families that had consented between 2004 and 2008 to the storage and analysis of their children's DNA samples in a genetic biobank. The biobank was created to study the genetics of congenital malformations of the heart's left ventricular outflow tract.

The researchers found that, while parents had a good grasp of some consent concepts, other important information was poorly understood. For example, parents understood that their consent was voluntary and the samples would be used for research on the causes of heart defects. However, they overestimated how the research might benefit their child and undervalued the risks of enrolling in the study.

"Although the primary purpose of the study was to obtain biologic samples for future testing, parents did not understand that their child's samples would be stored indefinitely," Dr. McBride says. When both parents were involved in the decision, they displayed a better overall
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Contact: Gina Bericchia
Gina.Bericchia@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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