Wrapped Up In Books

“You put your kid in the scanner and you say please, please, please, let it be normal.”

I think this article in the NYT pretty much the new definition of conflict of interest.  Although it’s 3 pages, give it a read through.  In light of research grants that are competitive to acquire, more and more scientists are enrolling their own children in their research.  While these aren’t drug trials, parents are voluntarily subjecting their kids to MRI scans and, generally, invasions of privacy and a big blip in the normal parent-child relationship.  Moreover, researchers are potentially selecting data that show their offspring fit the ‘norm’ – and worry if their data happens to be an outlier (I have statistics on the brain, clearly).  This latter point in itself jeopardizes the integrity of any of their research findings.

I coudn’t ever bring myself to do this.  I’ll refer you to the title of this post, then also remind you (as if you needed it) of everyone’s obsession with autism these days.  Any sort of brain scan I’m sure a parent would obsess over, as with any cognition test and so forth.  I figure it’s a little bit like the idea of having a whole genome scan one day; if something’s wrong, we now have the medical expertise to detect it sooner than later once it has manifested itself.  Rather than dreading finding something awry, why not let your child have a normal and happy childhood – and act like a respectful scientist, to boot.

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