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Fear of MRI Scans Trips Up Brain Researchers

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Science  19 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5968, pp. 931
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5968.931-a

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Summary

Chinese neuroscientists seeking to recruit subjects for a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder last December came away empty-handed. Although MRI is widely embraced in China as a diagnostic tool, parents are reluctant to expose children to strong magnetic fields, making it difficult to recruit subjects for research studies. The challenge of recruiting healthy children for studies has compelled some researchers to resort to ill children—an approach that can backfire. Some colleagues sympathize and suggest that exceptions to standard research practice should sometimes be allowed, but others disagree.