Zametkin et al1 break new ground in the understanding of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with positron emission tomography (PET) findings in adolescents with ADHD. Their research also reports PET results in healthy adolescents, raising important considerations regarding the use of normal controls in the pediatric age group. Clearly, the brain of a fetus, infant, older child, or adolescent is different from that of an adult and may require the development of normative information for this age group. The issue of consent in healthy children is quite complicated and varies within the differing pediatric age groups.
Do standards of consent for children exist that can adequately meet the growing complexity of research in children? The Code of Federal Regulations regarding the protection of human subjects2 was produced in 1983 and is quite general, especially in regard to pediatric research. In reporting their own consent process for research
Morton CT. Is Research in Normal and III Children Involving Radiation Exposure Ethical?. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(11):1059. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830110097013