Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Great Ormond Street experiment

"Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London are facing questions over whether they had the consent of parents or guardians before conducting brain experiments on vulnerable children from scandal-hit charity Kids’ Company."

"Documents obtained by Heat Street under Freedom of Information laws show that between 2007 and 2009, a total of 123 separate procedures were conducted on 10 young people who were clients of Camila Batmanghelidjh’s now-defunct charity."

"The children were given small sums of money for taking part in the experiments."

"The tests, including MRI scans, tried to prove a link between mistreatment in childhood and violent tendencies in adulthood."

"But the research proved inconclusive and was never published."

"It was part of a joint venture between Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London carried out by the Institute of Child Health, which the two organisations co-fund."

Dr Liz Davies, Emeritus Reader in Child Protection, quotes Professor Fonagyy, a psychologist at University College London on the topic of brain scans.

`by using brain scans, rather than studying how children behave, we will be able to spot those who are in greatest need of intervention. This system ought to be more accurate than current methods of diagnosis, such as questionnaires and observation… infants cannot articulate neglect or abuse, but their brain images can’ (Carlowe [2007] ‘My Brain Mapper’. The Times. 12th May).
Worried by the implications of experimenting on children`s brains Dr Davis attended conferences and heard the many arguments based on neuroscience in support of early intervention.  She concluded that: "the philosophy probably had an influence on the promotion of the fast track adoption policy and risked serious over-intervention by the state in family life."

Note that Professor Fonagyy did not entertain the idea of examining the brains of policy makers who came up with these projects, many of whom have psychopathic traits. Some might suggest that it would be more beneficial to society to weed out these low empathy individuals, using brains scans, rather than targeting their victims.
But then again, since government policy is to slyly influence society, why would they not want to study these effects, and why would they not choose the most vulnerable to begin their experiments?

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