Président du comité d’éthique de l’Inserm
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At their first big annual meeting, which took place on Tuesday 17 June this year at the Auditorium of Georges Pompidou European Hospital, several working groups from the Inserm Ethics Committee, including the “Embryo and Development” and “Gender and Health Research” groups, delivered their opinions in the form of notes.
These constitute an interim report with recommendations for practical measures that can be taken at Inserm to develop embryo research under the best ethical conditions, and make scientists aware of the impact of gender on health research.
©Inserm/ E. Valjent
The Inserm Ethics Committee, all members of which were reappointed last year, has the role of creating dialogue between the world of medical research and society. It currently comprises seven working groups addressing different themes. These groups may be requested to reflect on ethical questions, or may do so on their own initiative.
Synopsis of the note from the “Embryo and Development” group
The working group concludes its reflection by giving indications that might be considered in order to advance embryo research:
Synopsis of the note from the “Gender and Medical Research” group
Sex-based differences in the area of public health have been well documented in epidemiological surveys. However, it must be acknowledged that studies aimed at understanding such differences from a gender perspective remain rare in France, in contrast to Anglo-American and other European countries.
The gender dimension is also often neglected in biomedical research. There are few studies that reflect on the contribution of social factors to differences between the sexes in terms of physiology and pathology.
The group proposes the following courses of action:
– Making researchers aware of the fact that biology should not mask the role played by social constructs in health behaviours.
– Questioning clinical procedures for management, treatment, screening and follow-up through the gender prism.
– Developing new methodological approaches for research with the inclusion of gender as factor in understanding the normal and pathological.
– Areas of research touched on will include reproductive health, endocrinology, cardiology, neuroscience, etc., and the implications for public health.
For Hervé Chneiweiss, Chairman of the Inserm Ethics Committee, this first big meeting: “is not only a time to report on our first year’s work; it is also a time for engaging in dialogue with our colleagues and the wider public, listening to their criticisms, and hearing their questions, all of which will contribute to our work in the coming year.”
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