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Arch Hellen Med, 35(1), January-February 2018, 129-135


Ethical issues in epidemiological studies

D. Fragkou, P. Galanis
Center for Health Services Management and Evaluation, Department of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

In the broad sense, epidemiological studies encompass all studies conducted on humans. Ethical principles should be applied in epidemiological studies, and these concern the design and implementation of the study, data analysis, extraction of conclusions and publication of findings. In this article, the fundamental ethical principles regarding the design and conduct of a study are described, including informed consent of the participants, the maximization of benefit for the participants and public health, protection of privacy of the participants, and protection of the rights of vulnerable populations. Informed consent is the most important ethical issue in any study and this requires that the participants are mentally and cognitively healthy and legally capable of making decisions on their own. Only an ethical study can have reliable and valid results that would be accepted by the public. The 1964 Declaration of Helsinki constitutes the basis for the ethical principles that should be applied in research in the health sciences.

Key words: Confidentiality, Epidemiological studies, Ethics, Informed consent, Research.

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