Research Ethics Roundup: Examining the nocebo effect, new clinical trial rules in India, and more!

India plans to reform oversight of medical research, while Harvard University agrees to restructure  their Primate Center. Learn about these changes and more in this week’s Research Ethics Roundup!

Testing what we think we know: This opinion piece from The New York Times posits that researchers ought to spend less time investigating novel technologies, and more time evaluating whether standard treatments are actually effective and efficient.

Beware the nocebo effect: Though the positive effects (both real and imagined) of placebo treatment are well documented, less attention is paid to the negative impact of sugar pills. The author of this article believes that “the nocebo effect”, or the manifestation of negative side effects in patients taking a placebo, can be mitigated through careful word choice when describing potential side effects to patients.

India shakes up rules on clinical trials: In an effort to increase ethical oversight in Indian clinical trials, regulators have released detailed proposals on planned reforms. Proposed changes aim to encourage safe and innovative research.

Panel recommends changes at Harvard Primate Center: An independent panel of scientists and veterinarians enlisted by Harvard Medical School to review its troubled primate research facility in Southborough—the New England Primate Research Center—is recommending that new leadership positions be created and a committee be formed to assure animal safety and foster closer ties with the medical school.

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