Empirical analysis of current approaches to incidental findings

J Law Med Ethics. 2008 Summer;36(2):249-55, 211. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2008.00267.x.


This paper presents results found through searching publicly available U.S. data sources for information about how to handle incidental findings (IF) in human subjects research, especially in genetics and genomics research, neuroimaging research, and CT colonography research. We searched the Web sites of 14 federal agencies, 22 professional societies, and 100 universities, as well as used the search engine Google for actual consent forms that had been posted on the Internet. Our analysis of these documents showed that there is very little public guidance available for researchers as to how to deal with incidental findings. Moreover, the guidance available is not consistent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Documentation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Government Agencies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings*
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Societies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*