“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.” ~Carlos Castaneda

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Yeah .... I knew the IRB was put in place for a reason ...

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

For those of you who have done or are doing research, you have probably dealt with the institutional review board (IRB). The IRB was set up to protect patients from abuses.
In the United States, IRBs are governed by Title 45 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 46.[1] This Research Act of 1974, which defines IRBs and requires them for all research that receives funding, directly or indirectly, from what was the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare at the time, and is now the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). IRBs are themselves regulated by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) within HHS. IRBs were developed in direct response to research abuses earlier in the twentieth century. Two of the most notorious of these abuses were the experiments of Nazi physicians that became a focus of the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials, and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, an unethical and scientifically unjustifiable project conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service on poor, illiterate black men in rural Alabama.
So, I like most who have done research have and will complaint about the IRB, but it does serve a purpose. It is in place to protect patients rights.

What made my write a little about the IRB? Well, I was reading through a number of blogs this morning as I do on a Sunday before a long run and I ran arcross a post on a site called The Museum of Hoaxes, written by Alex Boese. In his research for his book called Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments he ran across a number of bizarre experiments. This list of The Top Twenty Most Bizarre Experiments od All Time should reaffirm in your mind the purpose of the IRB and that they are not there just to make more busy work for you.

Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments
elephants on acidTo research my new book, Elephants on Acid, I scoured scientific archives searching for the most bizarre experiments of all time — the kind that are mind-twistingly, jaw-droppingly strange... the kind that make you wonder, "How did anyone ever conceive of doing such a thing?"

Listed below are twenty of these experiments. You'll find all of them (and about 80 more) discussed in greater detail in my book, which will be published this November, 2007 by Harcourt. Kirkus Reviews calls it, "One of the finest science/history bathroom books of all time."

One question you may be wondering: Why are these experiments listed here, on the Museum of Hoaxes? They're not hoaxes, are they? No, they're not. All of these experiments really did occur. I put the list here simply because I already had this site up and running, and I didn't feel like designing a new site just for one list.

There is clearly a reason for the IRB, but sometimes I wonder about parents making decisions for the underage. Do they make the decisions for the best of the child or because they don't understand why they aren't "normal". With the increase of the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD as well as Bipolar disorder, this may be true. All of those teenage angst songs about parents may also be true.

A great song from the early 80's by Suicidal Tendencies titled Institutionalized about teenage angst and the frustration of parents not listening to them. This ends with the teen being institutionalized for being a teenager. My favorite part of this song is:
I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything
But then again I was thinking about nothing
And then my mom came in and I didn't even know she was there she called my name
And I didn't even hear it, and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!
And I go:
What, what's the matter
And she goes:
What's the matter with you?
I go:
There's nothing-wrong mom.
And she goes:
Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!
And I go:
No mom I'm not on drugs I'm okay, I was just thinking you know, why don't you get me a Pepsi.
And she goes:
NO you're on drugs!
I go:
Mom I'm okay, I'm just thinking.
She goes:
No you're not thinking, you're on drugs! Normal people don't act that way!
I go:
Mom just give me a Pepsi please
All I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me
All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me.
Just a Pepsi.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

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