Research ethics


According to the Declaration of Helsinki and Finnish legislation research ethics in human studies requires special attention. However, how to carry out practical procedures in the ethically best way is not self-evident and requires further studies. KuBiCo-birth cohort project provides an unique opportunity to pursue the following important points: 1) recruitment and informed consent in a birth cohort, 2) evaluation by the recruited families of the usefulness and potential risks to their families, 3) handling and long term storage of samples and information for future use, 4) societal benefits of the type of information collected in KuBiCo and 5) what affects the decisions by the people approached for recruitment. One of the main aims is to develop reliable tools to evaluate ethical issues in birth cohort studies.

Group leader, Kirsi Vähäkangas, MD, PhD, Prof.
School of Pharmacy/Toxicology
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Eastern Finland
P.O.Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio
email: Kirsi.Vahakangas(at)
tel:+35840745 5254

Research group, University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital
Anna-Maija Pietilä, PhD, Prof

Some relevant papers:

  • Vähäkangas K: Ethical aspects of molecular epidemiology of cancer. Carcinogenesis 25: 465-71, 2004. Epub 2003 Dec 04. 2004
  • Merlo D, Knudsen L, Matusiewicz K, Niebroj L, Vähäkangas K: Ethics in studies on children and environmental health. J Med Ethics 33: 408-413, 2007
  • Halkoaho A, Pietilä A-M, Dumez B, Van Damme K, Heinonen S, Vähäkangas K: Ethical aspects of human placental perfusion: Interview of the mothers donating placenta. Placenta. 31: 686-690, 2010
  • Halkoaho A, Pietilä AM, Vesalainen M, Vähäkangas K Ethical aspects in tissue research: thematic analysis of ethical statements to the research ethics committee. BMC Med Ethics. 8: 13:20, 2012.
  • Vähäkangas K. Research ethics in the post-genomic era. Environ Mol Mutagen. 54: 599-610, 2013