Present address: Centre for Biomedical Ethics, University of Singapore.
Translational and clinical research in Singapore: ethical issues in a longitudinal study of the prodromal phase of schizophrenia
Article first published online: 18 DEC 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 3–10, February 2012
How to Cite
Lysaght, T., Capps, B., Subramaniam, M. and Chong, S.-A. (2012), Translational and clinical research in Singapore: ethical issues in a longitudinal study of the prodromal phase of schizophrenia. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 6: 3–10. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2011.00318.x
- Issue published online: 24 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 18 DEC 2011
- Received 7 July 2010; accepted 22 September 2011
- biological marker;
- early diagnosis;
- schizophrenia and disorder with psychotic feature;
- translational research
Aims: This paper aims to provide an overview of the ethical issues that have been raised by The Longitudinal Youth at Risk Study, which is being led by the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore as part of a multi-centre and multinational study in translational and clinical research in psychosis. This project is designed to identify the biomarkers of the trajectory to psychosis. As well as providing insights into the psychopathology and psychophysiology of the disease, the study will prospectively identify those in the Singaporean population with an ultra-high risk of developing psychosis. The project will collect both observational and clinically relevant data from an at-risk group: adolescents and young adults.
Methods: A normative analysis was used to consider the ethical issues that arise as a result of this study, its methods, sample population and clinical management policy.
Results: The project was found to raise particular and sensitive ethical and legal issues relating to the conduct of research with vulnerable populations who may be entering the prodromal phase of psychosis. Issues raised included notions of consent, privacy, confidentiality, stigmatization, duty of care and therapeutic misconception.
Conclusion: Whereas some of the issues raised by this study present with manageable solutions, others may be justifiable within the cultural context of Singapore and warrant further discussion.