Helsinky, half a century later

Progress but many remaining challenges

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Helsinki

Fifty years and 7 revisions later, the 2013 version of the Declaration of Helsinki includes emphasis in protecting research participants especially vulnerable patients

 Caterina Lucchini

The 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Helsinki (DoH). Consequently, the World Medical Association (WMA) has developed its eighth version of the Declaration. The DoH was initially enacted in 1964 and it contained 11 articles and 713 words. In this 50 years DoH has been revised six times and tripled in size with its 35 articles and 2045 words. The new formatting will also be welcomed by readers because the subsections improve the readability of the document. “The ethical principles contained within the Declaration of Helsinki are no less important today than they were at the time it was first adopted in 1964- stated Ramin W. Parsa-Parsi, MD, MPH, of the German Medical Association, Chair of the Workgroup on the revision of the. Declaration of Helsinki-. Then, as now, the unique character of the Declaration, as a collection of ethical principles for medical research involving human beings rather than a detailed rule book, provides researchers the world over with an invaluable ethical guidance tool”.

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