Legal and ethical issues in neuroimaging research: human subjects protection, medical privacy, and the public communication of research results

Brain Cogn. 2002 Dec;50(3):345-57. doi: 10.1016/s0278-2626(02)00518-3.


Humans subjects research entails significant legal and ethical obligations. Neuroimaging researchers must be familiar with the requirements of human subjects protection, including evolving standards for the protection of privacy and the disclosure of risk in "non-therapeutic" research. Techniques for creating veridical surface renderings from volumetric anatomical imaging data raise new privacy concerns, particularly under the federal medical privacy regulation. Additionally, neuroimaging researchers must consider their obligation to communicate research results responsibly. The emerging field of neuroethics should strive to raise awareness of these issues and to involve neuroimaging researchers in the legal, ethical, and policy debates that currently surround human subjects research.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Communication*
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Consumer Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / ethics*
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / ethics
  • Privacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Research / legislation & jurisprudence*