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In the January-February issue of IRB: Ethics & Human Research, Scott Y.H. Kim, Raymond de Vries, Renee Wilson, Sonali Parnami, Samuel Frank, Karl Kieburtz, and Robert G. Holloway present results of a study about the therapeutic orientation of research participants.

The authors examined the relationship between understanding and appreciation of randomization probabilities in 29 individuals recruited for a sham surgery controlled intervention study in Parkinson's disease. 83% provided the correct, quantitative answer to the understanding question; of those, one group (55%) answered the appreciation question correctly using quantitative terms, whereas the remaining group (45%) provided only qualitative comments.

The therapeutic orientation of research participants raises concerns about the adequacy of consent because such an orientation could cloud understanding of key elements of research. Further, even if participants understand (i.e., intellectually comprehend) elements of research, they may not appreciate them because they fail to apply such facts to themselves.

Study participants frequently made "unrealistic" probability statements, even while providing correct quantitative responses. Analysis showed that this apparent "irrationality" may in fact hide a deeper rationality -- namely, conversational rationality, which is part of the contextual nature of meaning conveyed in everyday language. Ignoring conversational rationality may lead to wrongly labeling research subjects as irrational. Click here for more information.

Kathryn Moseley, MD, MPH

Ed Goldman was made Fellow of the Michigan Bar Health Law Section and the AHLA (American Health Lawyers Association).

Peter A. Ubel, MD


Peter Ubel, MD, is a physician and behavioral scientist whose research and writing explores the quirks in human nature that influence people's lives — the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect health, happiness and the way society functions.

Dr. Ubel is Professor of Marketing and Public Policy at Duke University. He was Professor of Medicine and Psychology at the University of Michigan, where he taught from 2000 to 2010, and from 2005-2010, served as the Director of the Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine.

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Erica Sutton, PhD


Dr. Erica Sutton was a CBSSM Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2013-2015. She is an interdisciplinary social scientist engaged in social and behavioral science research that explores the health care experiences of individuals living with rare genetic conditions; the manner in which biotechnologies shape personal experience and social life; and the ethical implications of these technologies for individuals, public health, social policy, health care institutions, and communities.

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Tue, May 07, 2013

Dr. Kathryn Moseley was recently quoted in a Detroit Free Press article, "Proposed law would force hospitals to tell when care won't be given." 

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Tue, May 21, 2013

Masahito Jimbo was featured in a recent UMHS Press release, "Study finds gaps in “decision aids” designed to help determine right cancer screening option for patients." His study found that despite strong recommendations from the medical community to use these aids to help patients make more well-informed decisions, there is lack of evidence on whether they work – which may lead to fewer doctors using them. (Abstract)

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Fri, May 08, 2015

Ken Langa discusses how brain crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other brain games are not an evidence-based way to maintain mental sharpness and there is a lack of research in this area.

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Press Kit


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Janice Firn, PhD, MSW


Dr. Firn has a BS from Michigan State University, MSW from the University of Michigan, and PhD from Lancaster University (UK). Before CBSSM, Janice worked in oncology and palliative care at Michigan Medicine. In her role as Clinical Ethicist for the Clinical Ethics Service, Janice responds to ethics consultation requests, and participates in preventative ethics rounds and education and research initiatives.  Her academic interests include bioethics; self-care, burnout, and resilience; palliative and end of life care; and interprofessional education and collaboration.

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