Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms related to altered social interactions/communication and restricted and repetitive behaviors. In addition to genetic risk, epigenetic mechanisms (which include DNA methylation/demethylation) are thought to be important in the etiopathogenesis of ASD.
DNA methylation (DNAm) is important in brain development and is potentially important in schizophrenia. We characterized DNAm in prefrontal cortex from 335 non-psychiatric controls across the lifespan and 191 patients with schizophrenia and identified widespread changes in the transition from prenatal to postnatal life. These DNAm changes manifest in the transcriptome, correlate strongly with a shifting cellular landscape and overlap regions of genetic risk for schizophrenia.
Religious discussion of human organs and tissues has concentrated largely on donation for therapeutic purposes. The retrieval and use of human tissue samples in diagnostic, research, and education contexts have, by contrast, received very little direct theological attention. Initially undertaken at the behest of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, this essay seeks to explore the theological and religious questions embedded in nontherapeutic use of human tissue.
The number of "units" of human bone used during surgical procedures has grown to almost a quarter of a million. Medical demand for such bone is expanding rapidly and the nation's bone-banking system is struggling to grow apace. Unfortunately, because of this growth, bone banks must compete with organ banks for access both to hospitals and to potential donors. This conflict can, and may already be, negatively affecting the supply of transplantable tissues and organs.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify perceptions of the general public regarding research involving human tissues; to assess the public's willingness to donate samples to biobanks; and to identify factors associated with the willingness to donate samples. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey. Postal questionnaires to a random sample of the general public in Sweden, 18-80 years of age (n = 6000) in October 2002 (response rate 49.4%; n = 2928). RESULTS: A majority of the respondents had a positive attitude towards genetic research.
Tissue banking (or biobanking), thought by many to be an essential form of medical research, has raised a number of ethical issues that highlight a need to understand the beliefs and values of tissue donors, including the motivations underlying consent or refusal to donate. Data from our qualitative study of the legal, social, and ethical issues surrounding tumor banking in New South Wales, Australia, show that participants' attitudes to donation of tumor tissue for research are partially captured by theories of weak altruism and social exchange.
In the debate on biobank regulation, arguments often draw upon findings in surveys on public attitudes. However, surveys on willingness to participate in research may not always predict actual participation rates. We compared hypothetical willingness as estimated in 11 surveys conducted in Sweden, Iceland, United Kingdom, Ireland, United States and Singapore to factual participation rates in 12 biobank studies. Studies were matched by country and approximate time frame.
Tissue banks currently warrant an interdisciplinary management leading to detect and address pressure conflicts taking into account ethical aspects, the safety and quality of the tissues provided, behavior under the principles of altruism, solidarity and equity, and the procurement of deceased donor tissues.
The motivations of those who give consent to bio-banking research have received a great deal of attention in recent years. Previous work draws upon the notion of altruism, though the self and/or family have been proposed as significant factors. Drawing on 11 interviews with staff responsible for seeking consent to cancer bio-banking and 13 observations of staff asking people to consent in routine clinical encounters, we investigate how potential participants are oriented to, and constructed as oriented to, self and other related concerns (Sarangi 2007).