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HHS HealthBeat (September 14, 2012)

OK with the kid?

A doctor talks with a patient girl
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Children’s Assent

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Children are not little adults. When kids get medical treatment, their bodies might not respond in the same way that adults’ bodies do – and that’s important, because many treatments have not been fully tested on kids.

Researchers test treatments on volunteers in clinical trials, and the volunteers might benefit from the treatment. But when children are involved, researchers want to be very careful that the kids – as well as their parents – fully understand risks and benefits. The extra layer for kids is called ``assent.’’

At the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center – its research hospital – Dr. David Wendler:

“You explain what you are proposing to do – to the extent and in a way that the child can understand it – and then you ask them whether or not they are willing to go ahead.”

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: September 13, 2012