Research involving minors is an area of controversy within medical ethics and medical law. Minors represent a vulnerable group, for whom particular protective measures are required and who should be excluded from research that does not offer the prospect of direct benefit. However, the exclusion of minors from research into disorders of relevance to their age group precludes the potential for beneficial medical advances. Furthermore, effective prevention strategies for common medical conditions with an origin in childhood and adolescence, such as mental disorders, require the delineation of those who are at increased risk. This volume considers the ethical challenges of research with minors for the researchers, but also for the involved research ethics committees. In particular, it reflects how minors can be more involved in the decision-making-processes and reports about the experiences in conducting the European multicentric research project IMAGEMEND.
Lanzerath, Dirk, Priv.-Doz. Dr. phil., Executive Officer, German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE), Bonn, Germany; Secretary General of the European Network of Research Ethics Committees
Rietschel, Marcella, Prof. Dr. med., Scientific Director, Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry at Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Manheim, Germany