Me, Myself and MRI

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1 in 10 brain scans reveals an anomaly. This could be something malignant (harmful), like a tumour, or benign (harmless), like a 'spare' piece of tissue. We therefore had to be prepared for the fact that one or more of our participants' scans might show up an anomaly on their brain.

We spent some time discussing this with the young people involved in the project to make sure that they understood the implications of an anomaly being discovered and the sensitive way in which this should be handled.

Before having their scan, all of our participants had to agree to their GP being informed if an anomaly was revealed. This is a condition for everyone who has a scan at YNiC. It's there to make sure that the person who tells the participant that there is an anomaly on their brain is properly qualified and has the medical knowledge to help them understand what it means.

1 in 10 brain scans reveals an anomaly
The project participants were all given two information sheets when they agreed that they might be interested in getting involved in the project. The first sheet (Participant Information Sheet - Project Overview) gives an overview of the whole Me, Myself and MRI project. The second sheet (Participant Information Sheet MRI) gives a more detailed description of the MRI scan process. These two information sheets can be downloaded from the top right of this page.

All of our participants had to sign several consent forms before they were able to take part in the project:
  • Participant Consent Form - this form was produced by Geodesic Arts and relates to the participant's involvement in the overall project
  • YNiC Safety Questionnaire - this form is used by York Neuroimaging Centre (YNiC) to ask questions about the participant's medical history
  • YNiC General Consent - this form is used by YNiC to confirm that the participant gives their consent to having a scan and that they agree that their GP should be informed if an anomaly is found during their scan
  • YNiC Scan Consent - this form is used by YNiC each time a participant has a scan
All of these forms can be downloaded from the top right of this page. Further information on the YNiC forms, as well as information leaflets on MRI and MEG scans can be found on the YNiC website.

Confidentiality agreement

As well as the patient consent, project team members who were present whilst the participants were having their scans had to sign a confidentiality agreement. This agreement stated that we would not discuss the results of the scan with the participant. This would be particularly important if the scan showed up an anomaly as none of us are medically trained so we wouldn't be able to explain to the participant what the anomaly might be.

Other ethical issues relating to the use of MRI data in the exhibition

We also discussed the fact that some of the people we invited to take part in the project may not want to undergo an MRI scan and that we should respect their wishes and not question this.

As well as the ethical issues surrounding the use of the MRI data we discussed the fact that some members of the public may not agree with us being able to access an MRI facility as part of an art project, given the fact that some NHS patients may have to join a waiting list when they need a scan for medical reasons. We explained to the pupils that the facilities at YNiC are used for both clinical and research purposes and that we were paying for the use of the scanner and would also have to book our appointments at times when the scanner wasn't needed for clinical use.

Next section: Other Ethical Issues