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Health funders seek opinions on study ‘surprises’

UK medical funders are asking for input to guidelines on the course of action that researchers should take if they uncover information about the health of research participants, when the findings are incidental to the study itself.

The Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust say that there are no guidelines covering health-related findings in the UK, nor any consensus on the ethics involved.

The funders have drafted a framework suggesting what is expected of researchers who make such findings, which may emerge, for example, during imaging or genetic tests, or when researchers are taking physiological measurements.

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