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Why Include Children in Research?

Clip Number: 5 of 12
Presentation: Children and Research
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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You may wonder why children are included in research at all. After all, research involves uncertainty and may have risks. Why not do research only on adults, who can decide for themselves if they want to participate?
In fact, when possible, research IS usually done first on adults. And many medicines and other treatments have been studied only in adults and not in children.
But children often don't respond to medicine and other treatments the same way adults do. For example, the correct dose of a medicine for a child often can't be determined simply by adjusting the adult dose to match the child's size. Using this method alone may give the child too much - or too little - medicine.
Likewise, some conditions, such as premature birth, occur only in children and can't be studied in adults. And children experience other conditions, such as seizures, differently than adults do. Therefore, in order for children to benefit from new medicines and treatments, it's important to include them in research studies.
Many children today are benefiting from research that was done on children in the past. For example, the current treatments for many childhood cancers and for cystic fibrosis are based on past research. Hopefully, the research done on children today will help children in the future in a similar way.

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