Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Including older people in clinical research

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 03 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1036

Rapid Response:

Age cut off, the easy option for researchers?

As a lay member of my Local Research Etics Committee and an older
person (76Yrs) I always question the exclusion of older people in any
submitted research aplications.

Most of the justifications given are,I believe,only excuses e.g. "
Age may be a confounding variable" or " Older people may react atypically
to the general population."
Of course exclusion ensures that these possibilities cannot be detected
in which case one must ask "Can this be good research?"

Researchers are encouraged to be inclusive when designing their
research applications and LRECs, in regards to factors like ethnicity,
certainly discourage exclusion but are, I believe, less rigorous in
respect of exclusion by reason of age.

I welcome this editorial and hope that it prompts thought and
discussion at all levels in the reseach community.

Michael S Marsh

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 November 2005
Michael S Marsh
LREC Member