COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Parents of traditionally vulnerable children -- those who are developmentally delayed or who have a borderline IQ -- overwhelmingly support their children's participation in drug research trials, a new study suggests.

In fact, the consumer satisfaction study -- the first of its kind -- found that the parents of these children were so satisfied with their experiences that nearly nine of 10 of them would enroll their kids in a drug study again.

"As researchers who study drug effects, we are aware that the very act of conducting research with children with developmental disabilities is seen as controversial," said Michael Aman, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

"However, we believe that our results show a high level of endorsement by participants in drug research."

Aman, who is based at Ohio State's Nisonger Center for Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, conducted this

research with Patricia L. Wolford, former research associate at the Nisonger Center. The pair's work was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The study involved the parents of 63 children with developmental delays or borderline IQ and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The children were participants in two Nisonger Center studies involving the drugs Ritalin and Pondimin. Four weeks after the children's participation in the studies, the researchers sent their parents a questionnaire about the acceptability of the study procedures and satisfaction with the process and outcome.

The results:

"As researchers, we all attach a great deal of importance to the scientific results obtained from medication studies," Aman said. "It is gratifying to see that parents also appear to attach clinical or practical significance to their child's participation in drug research."

Aman said these results underscore the good that can come when parents have their children participate in drug research trials.

"The standard clinical practice doesn't have the resources to carry out the detailed evaluations that drug researchers conduct," he said. "Also, the typical clinical practice doesn't provide opportunities to try new treatments -- which is something many drug studies provide."

"As researchers, we're aware that we have to offer a really good service because often the youngsters we're looking to enroll in our studies are hard to find," Aman said. "It's not an overstatement to suggest that children participating in drug studies should receive better, more comprehensive care."

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Contact: Michael G. Aman, (614) 292-8365

Written by Kelly McConaghy Kershner, (614) 292-8308