ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Malaysia
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Research, Casuistry And Psychiatry - An Asian Perspective

Author(s):
Noor Zurani Md Haris Robson*, Stephen Jambunathan** Jesjeet S Gill**, Ahmad Hatim Sulaiman**, Mohammad Hussain Habil**

Institution(s):
*Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur; ** Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur

Dear Sir- in a recent article published in your journal, Volume 10 (1): Jan-June 2009, Vaingankar et. al, (2009) reported an elegant article on 'Psychiatric research and ethics: Attitudes of mental healthcare professionals in Singapore' [1]. We would like to respond to the article by sharing our thoughts and experience on intention, autonomy, casuistry and psychiatric research from an Asian perspective. Over the last decade research in Asia has increased dramatically. This is mainly due to awareness regarding great research potential and also pharmaceutical interests in Asian population [2]. The increasing number of trials have generated a need to ensure that participants in clinical trials were protected and that data reported were valid [3]. Thus adhering to standard international guideline such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP) served this purpose [4, 5]. Conducting research involving patients with psychological problems can be controversial if GCP principles are not adhered to strictly. Many questions arise with regards to proper informed consent, protocol violation and post-research follow-up care. Another influential factor for research in psychiatry in Asia is the rich multi-cultural population that has varying attitudes and beliefs towards psychological problems and the treatment options [6-8]. Culture bound syndromes, often treated holistically by the traditional healer may lose this option where clinical trials readily offer a purely reductionistic pharmacological form of treatment for conditions involving the mind and not only the brain, and that may require not just medication.

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