Impact of incidental findings on young adult participants in brain imaging research: an interview study

Anke J.M. Oerlemans*, Daniëlle M.H. Barendregt, Sabine C. Kooijman, Eline M. Bunnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The current study aims to investigate young adult research participants’ experiences with and preferences regarding the disclosure of MRI incidental findings (IFs) in brain imaging research, and to elucidate the impact and long-term effects of IF disclosure on these participants. Methods: We conducted 11 semi-structured interviews with 10 research participants to whom an IF was disclosed after they participated in brain MRI research at the Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN) in the Netherlands. Interview transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Results: The analysis yielded five themes regarding the impact of IF disclosure: the initial shock of disclosure, a period of uncertainty, results of the follow-up examination, long-term impact, and participants’ biomedical background. Participants were primarily impacted by the uncertainty in the period immediately following IF disclosure. For our participants, disclosure has had no health benefits and some, albeit mostly temporary and limited, negative impact. Conclusions: Our study suggests that it is important to carefully consider IF disclosure in a population of young healthy participants and emphasizes the relevance of systematic, large-scale follow-up studies to monitor risks and benefits of IF disclosure in this population. The insights from this study can be of added value to improve current research procedures or frameworks for the management and disclosure of IFs in imaging studies. Key Points: • Participants were primarily impacted by the uncertainty in the period immediately following IF disclosure. • Our study suggests that it is important to carefully consider IF disclosure in a population of healthy young adult participants. • Our study emphasizes the relevance of systematic, large-scale follow-up studies to monitor the risks and benefits of IF disclosure in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3839-3845
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Radiology
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to European Society of Radiology.

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