Perceptions of best practices for return of results in an international survey of psychiatric genetics researchers
ABSTRACT: Many research sponsors and genetic researchers agree that some medically relevant genetic findings should be offered to participants. The scarcity of research specific to returning genetic results related to psychiatric disorders hinders the ability to develop ethically justified and empirically informed guidelines for responsible return of results for these conditions. We surveyed 407 psychiatric genetics researchers from 39 countries to examine their perceptions of challenges to returning individual results and views about best practices for the process of offering and returning results. Most researchers believed that disclosure of results should be delayed if a patient-participant is experiencing significant psychiatric symptoms. Respondents felt that there is little research on the impact of returning results to participants with psychiatric disorders and agreed that return of psychiatric genetics results to patient-participants may lead to discrimination by insurance companies or other third parties. Almost half of researchers believed results should be returned through a participant’s treating psychiatrist, but many felt that clinicians lack knowledge about how to manage genetic research results. Most researchers thought results should be disclosed by genetic counselors or medical geneticists and in person; however, almost half also supported disclosure via telemedicine. This is the first global survey to examine the perspectives of researchers with experience working with this patient population and with these conditions. Their perspectives can help inform the development of much-needed guidelines to promote responsible return of results related to psychiatric conditions to patients with psychiatric disorders.
Project description:PURPOSE:Large-scale array-based and sequencing studies have advanced our understanding of the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders, but also increased the potential to generate an exponentially larger amount of clinically relevant findings. As genomic testing becomes more widespread in psychiatry research, urgency grows to establish best practices for offering return of results (RoR) to individuals at risk or diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. METHODS:We interviewed an international sample (n?=?39) of psychiatric genetics researchers to examine conceptualizations of "best practices" for RoR to individual research participants. RESULTS:While the vast majority of researchers do not offer RoR, most believed medically actionable findings (85%) and clinically valid but non-medically actionable findings (54%) should be offered. Researchers identified three main areas for improvement: interfacing with individual participants; interdisciplinary training, guidance, and integration; and quality planning and resource allocation for returning results. CONCLUSION:There are significant gaps between researchers' visions for "best" versus "actual" RoR practices. While researchers call for participant-centered practices, including consent practices that consider any special needs of participants with psychiatric disorders, return of individually meaningful results, and effective follow-up and provisions for treatment, the current reality is that consent and RoR practices lack standardized and evidence-based norms.
Project description:The obligations of researchers to disclose clinically and/or personally significant individual research results are highly debated, but few empirical studies have addressed this topic. We describe the development of a protocol for returning research results to participants at one site of a multicenter study of the genetic epidemiology of melanoma. Protocol development involved numerous challenges: (1) deciding whether genotype results merited disclosure; (2) achieving an appropriate format for communicating results; (3) developing education materials; (4) deciding whether to retest samples for additional laboratory validation; (5) identifying and notifying selected participants; and (6) assessing the impact of disclosure. Our experience suggests potential obstacles depending on researcher resources and the design of the parent study, but offers a process by which researchers can responsibly return individual study results and evaluate the impact of disclosure.
Project description:The present study represents an initial step in understanding diverse academic perspectives on the disclosure of secondary findings (SFs) from genetic research conducted in Africa. Using an online survey completed by 674 university students and academic staff in South Africa, we elicited attitudes towards the return of SFs. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed to classify sub-groups of participants according to their overall attitudes to returning SFs. We did not find substantial differences in attitudes towards the return of findings between staff and students. Overall, respondents were in favour of the return of SFs in genetics research, depending on the type. The majority of survey respondents (80%) indicated that research participants should be given the option of deciding whether to have genetic SFs returned. LCA revealed that the largest group (53%) comprised individuals with more favourable attitudes to the return of SFs in genetics research. Those with less favourable attitudes comprised only 4% of the sample. This study provides important insights that may, together with further empirical evidence, inform the development of research guidelines and policy to assist healthcare professionals and researchers.
Project description:as genetic and genomic research proliferates, debate has ensued about returning results to participants. In addition to consideration of the benefits and harms to participants, researchers must also consider the logistical and financial feasibility of returning research results. However, little data exist of actual researcher practices.we conducted an online survey of 446 corresponding authors of genetic/genomic studies conducted in the United States and published in 2006-2007 to assess the frequency with which they considered, offered to, or actually returned research results, what factors influenced these decisions, and the method of communicating results.the response rate was 24% (105/446). Fifty-four percent of respondents considered the issue of returning research results to participants, 28% offered to return individual research results, and 24% actually returned individual research results. Of those who considered the issue of returning research results during the study planning phase, the most common factors considered were whether research results were deemed clinically useful (18%) and respect for participants (13%). Researchers who had a medical degree and conducted studies on children were significantly more likely to offer to return or actually return individual results compared to those with a Ph.D. only.we speculate that issues associated with clinical validity and respect for participants dominated concerns of time and expense given the prominent and continuing ethical debates surrounding genetics and genomics research. The substantial number of researchers who did not consider returning research results suggests that researchers and institutional review boards need to devote more attention to a topic about which research participants are interested.
Project description:Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are expected to evaluate protocols planning the use of Next Generation Sequencing technologies (NGS), assuring that any genomic finding will be properly managed. As Canadian REBs play a central role in the disclosure of such results, we deemed it important to examine the views and experience of REB members on the return of aggregated research results, individual research results (IRRs) and incidental findings (IFs) in current genomic research. With this intent, we carried out a web-based survey, which showed that 59.7% of respondents viewed the change from traditional sequencing to NGS as more than a technical substitution, and that 77% of respondents agreed on the importance of returning aggregated research results, the most compelling reasons being the recognition of participants' contribution and increasing the awareness of scientific progress. As for IRRs specifically, 50% of respondents were in favour of conveying such information, even when they only indicated the probability that a condition may develop. Current regulations and risk to participants were considered equally important, and much more than financial costs, when considering the return of IRRs and IFs. Respondents indicated that the financial aspect of offering genetic counseling was the least important matter when assessing it as a requisite. Granting agencies were named as mainly responsible for funding, while the organizing and returning of IRRs and IFs belonged to researchers. However, views in these matters differ according to respondents' experience. Our results draw attention to the need for improved guidance when considering the organizational and financial aspects of returning genetic research results, so as to better fulfill the ethical and moral principles that are to guide such undertakings.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Current medical practice includes the application of genomic sequencing (GS) in clinical and research settings. Despite expanded use of this technology, the process of disclosure of genomic results to patients and research participants has not been thoroughly examined and there are no established best practices. METHODS:We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 genetic and non-genetic clinicians returning results of GS as part of the NIH funded Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) Consortium projects. Interviews focused on the logistics of sessions, participant/patient reactions and factors influencing them, how the sessions changed with experience, and resources and training recommended to return genomic results. RESULTS:The length of preparation and disclosure sessions varied depending on the type and number of results and their implications. Internal and external databases, online resources and result review meetings were used to prepare. Respondents reported that participants' reactions were variable and ranged from enthusiasm and relief to confusion and disappointment. Factors influencing reactions were types of results, expectations and health status. A recurrent challenge was managing inflated expectations about GS. Other challenges included returning multiple, unanticipated and/or uncertain results and navigating a rare diagnosis. Methods to address these challenges included traditional genetic counseling techniques and modifying practice over time in order to provide anticipatory guidance and modulate expectations. Respondents made recommendations to improve access to genomic resources and genetic referrals to prepare future providers as the uptake of GS increases in both genetic and non-genetic settings. CONCLUSIONS:These findings indicate that returning genomic results is similar to return of results in traditional genetic testing but is magnified by the additional complexity and potential uncertainty of the results. Managing patient expectations, initially identified in studies of informed consent, remains an ongoing challenge and highlights the need to address this issue throughout the testing process. The results of this study will help to guide future providers in the disclosure of genomic results and highlight educational needs and resources necessary to prepare providers. Future research on the patient experience, understanding and follow-up of recommendations is needed to more fully understand the disclosure process.
Project description:Developments in genomics research have been accompanied by a controversial ethical injunction: that researchers disclose individually relevant research results to research participants. With the explosion of genomic research on complex psychiatric conditions such as autism, researchers must increasingly contend with whether--and which results--to report. We conducted a qualitative study with researchers and participants involved in autism genomics research, including 4 focus groups and 23 interviews with parents of autistic children, and 23 interviews with researchers. Respondents considered genomic research results 'reportable' when results were perceived to explain cause, and answer the question 'why;' that is, respondents set a standard for reporting individually relevant genetic research results to individual participants that is specific to autism, reflecting the metaphysical value that genetic information is seen to offer in this context. In addition to this standard of meaning, respondents required that results be deemed 'true.' Here, respondents referenced standards of validity that were context nonspecific. Yet in practice, what qualified as 'true' depended on evidentiary standards within specific research disciplines as well as fundamental, and contested, theories about how autism is 'genetic.' For research ethics, these finding suggest that uniform and context-free obligations regarding result disclosure cannot readily be specified. For researchers, they suggest that result disclosure to individuals should be justified not only by perceived meaning but also by clarity regarding appropriate evidentiary standards, and attention to the status of epistemological debates regarding the nature and cause of disorders.
Project description:To inform whether the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) should change its policy of not returning research results to ADNI participants, we surveyed investigators and research staff about disclosing ADNI biomarker information to research participants, with particular emphasis on amyloid imaging results.In April 2012, just before Food and Drug Administration approval of the amyloid-binding radiotracer, florbetapir, all ADNI investigators and personnel were recruited to complete an anonymous online survey that contained fixed choice and free-text questions.Although ADNI participants often requested amyloid imaging results (the proportions of investigators who reported requests from more than half of their participants with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment were 20% and 22%, respectively), across all diagnostic groups, the majority of ADNI investigators (approximately 90%) did not return amyloid imaging results to ADNI participants. However, the majority of investigators reported that, if the Food and Drug Administration approved florbetapir, they would support the return of amyloid imaging results to participants with mild cognitive impairment and normal cognition, but they emphasized the need for guidance on how to provide these results to participants and for research to assess the value of returning results as well as how returning results will affect study validity and participant well-being.A majority of ADNI investigators support returning amyloid imaging results to ADNI participants. The findings that they want guidance on how to do this and research on the impact of disclosure suggest how to develop and monitor a disclosure process.
Project description:Recent breakthroughs in psychiatric genetics have identified genetic risk factors of yet unknown clinical value. A main ethical principal in the context of psychiatric research as well as future clinical genetic testing is the respect for a person's autonomy to decide whether to undergo genetic testing, and whom to grant access to genetic data. However, experience within the psychiatric genetic research setting has indicated controversies surrounding attitudes toward this ethical principal. This study aimed to explore attitudes concerning the right of individuals to self-determine testing and disclosure of results, and to determine whether these attitudes are context-dependent, that is, not directly related to the test result but rather to specific circumstances. N?=?160 individuals with major depression or bipolar disorder and n?=?29 relatives of individuals with either illness completed an online-questionnaire assessing attitudes toward genetic testing, genetic research, disclosure of results, incidental findings, and access to psychiatric genetic test results. Generally, the right of the person's autonomy was considered very important, but attitudes varied. For example, half of those who considered that children should have the right to refuse psychiatric genetic testing even against their parents' will, also state that they should be tested upon their parents' wishes. Also, the majority of respondents considered the physician entitled to disregard their stated wishes concerning the disclosure of incidental findings in case of good treatment options. Thus, researchers and clinicians must be aware that attitudes toward psychiatric genetic testing are often mutable and should discuss these prior to testing.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Disclosure of pathogenic variants to thoracic aortic dissection biobank participants was implemented. The impact and costs, including confirmatory genetic testing in a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory, were evaluated.<h4>Methods</h4>We exome sequenced 240 cases with thoracic aortic dissection and 258 controls, then examined 11 aortopathy genes. Pathogenic variants in 6 aortopathy genes (COL3A1, FBN1, LOX, PRKG1, SMAD3, and TGFBR2) were identified in 26 participants, representing 10.8% of the cohort (26/240). A second research sample was used to validate the initial findings. Mailed letters to participants disclosed that a potentially disease causing DNA alteration had been identified (neither the gene nor variant was disclosed). Participants were offered clinical genetic counseling and confirmatory genetic testing in a CLIA laboratory.<h4>Results</h4>Excluding 6 participants who were deceased or lost to follow-up, 20 participants received the disclosure letter, 10 of whom proceeded with genetic counseling, confirmatory genetic testing, and enrolled in a survey study. Participants reported satisfaction with the letter (4.2?±?0.7) and genetic counseling (4.4?±?0.4; [out of 5, respectively]). The psychosocial impact was characterized by low decisional regret (11.5?±?11.6) and distress (16.0?±?4.2, [out of 100, respectively]). The average cost for 26 participants was $400, including validation and sending letters. The average cost for those who received genetic counseling and CLIA laboratory confirmation was $605.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Participants were satisfied with the return of clinically significant biobank genetic results and CLIA laboratory testing; however, the process required significant time and resources. These findings illustrate the trade-offs involved for researchers considering returning research genetic results.