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Can an investigator also be a research subject?

Can investigators also be research subjects in their own studies? Science Magazine recently published a piece discussing the regulatory and ethical issues about researchers doing their research on themselves. As the piece points out, self-experimentation can lead to results that are life changing, for better or worse — two scientists went on to win Nobel Prizes, but another died as a result of his research. (Note — all of these cases occurred in the pre-Common Rule era.)

In fact, we’ve seen a few instances at UAMS of a researcher wanting to participate in his or her own study. Nothing we could find in the regulations prohibits investigators from joining their own project. But some practical and ethical must be considered. For example, if the study is blinded, can the PI remain blinded to his or her own treatment assignment? Also, if the PI signs up, will the study staffers lower down on the organizational chart also feel compelled to join?

Please click on the above link to read the full article.