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The Risks and Benefits of Searching for Incidental Findings in MRI Research Scans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2021

Extract

The question of how to handle incidental findings (IFs) has sparked a heated debate among neuroimaging researchers and medical ethicists, a debate whose urgency stems largely from the recent explosion in the number of imaging studies being conducted and in the sheer volume of scans being acquired. Perhaps the point of greatest controversy within this debate is whether the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of all research participants should be reviewed in an active search for pathology and, moreover, whether this search should be performed by a radiologist. Resistance to routine readings performed by radiologists, as opposed to selective review of those scans on which investigators have spotted a possible IF, has been fueled in part by the obvious and enormous cost — financial and logistical — of engaging radiologists to read massive numbers of scans. This cost would be especially burdensome, even prohibitive, to investigators who are not affiliated with a medical center, because of their limited access to radiologists and other medical expertise.

Type
Symposium
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2008

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