Dr. Nathan Fox replies to critique of Romanian orphan study

November 15, 2013

The opening keynote on a study of Romanian orphans at NeuroDevNet's 2013 Brain Development Conference has sparked a debate between study Principal Investigator Nathan Fox and NeuroDevNet's Scientific Advisory Board
member Joseph J. Fins.

On October 31, NeuroDevNet profiled Fins' critique, Romanian Orphans: A Reconsideration of the Ethics of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, and recounted the heated exchange between the researchers at the Brain Development Conference. On Nov. 5, Dr. Fox and co-investigators Drs. Charles H. Zeanah, and Charles A. Nelson, published their response. Both articles have been published online on The Hastings Center's Bioethics Forum Blog.

Dr. Fox and colleagues' reply, Romanian Orphans Study: Investigators Respond to Ethical Questions begins as follows:

"We appreciate having an opportunity to respond to the commentary on the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) by Joseph Fins. We respect his status as a leading bioethics authority, although we are dismayed by the content and tone of his critique. As the three principal investigators of BEIP, we feel it is important to clarify a number of points that he raised.

"We begin by acknowledging the complex nature of our project and the difficult ethical issues that it raises. We understand that not everyone will view the project in the same way. Nevertheless, Professor Fins’s analogies to infamous studies are inaccurate, misplaced, and inflammatory. A review of the facts about BEIP may be helpful in illuminating our points of agreement and disagreement."

To read Dr. Fins' initial ciritque, and the response of Dr. Fox and colleagues, click here