Ethical questions regarding the use of human subjects in research are not new, but the special circumstances concerning potential subjects who are cognitively impaired have received less attention. Various conditions and disorders including Alzheimer disease, cerebrovascular disease, schizophrenia, and irreversible coma can cause mental impairment that diminishes or eliminates a person's capacity to understand and consent to participation in research. Cognitive impairment renders persons incompetent to make their own decisions to participate in research if it eliminates the person's ability to understand, make choices about, or communicate a decision regarding particular research. Investigation into certain areas such as dementing syndromes,
Cognitively Impaired Subjects. Ann Intern Med. ;111:843–848. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-111-10-843
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1989;111(10):843-848.
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