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Dec 17, 2012 Article
Public opinions regarding the relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorders and society: social agenda construction via science café and public dialogue using questionnaires

by Jin Higashijima, Yui Miura, Chie Nakagawa, Yasunori Yamanouchi, Kae Takahashi and Masaki Nakamura

Rapid and significant developments in the science of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) have provoked serious social and ethical concerns as well as positive influences worldwide. This study created a social agenda containing 21 important issues regarding the relationship between ASDs and society and the development of the science of ASDs. The agenda was constructed with the input of a variety of Japanese people who were provided with scientific ASD information and engaged in discussions regarding ASDs. First, opinions were sought via a questionnaire from the attendees of six science café sessions. Then, additional important issues were put forward by attendees of a larger dialogue session regarding the relationship between ASDs and society, again via a questionnaire. The agenda covered a wide range of issues, including information regarding ASDs, people’s understanding of ASDs, social support, education, the difference between ASD characteristics and individuality, ASD research, diagnosis, and social attitudes.

Volume 11 • Issue 04 • 2012

May 23, 2011 Article
What are the features of non-expert opinions on regenerative medicine? Opinion analysis of workshop participants

by Chie Nakagawa, Ekou Yagi and Kazuto Kato

Regenerative medicine (RM) has the potential to strongly impact on society. To determine non-experts’ impressions of RM, we analyzed opinions obtained from workshops in which participants freely discussed RM. Three major features were apparent. First, non-experts were most concerned with the possible effects of RM after it has been fully realized in society. Second, non-experts expressed concerns not only about RM itself, but also about the governance and operation of the technology. Third, non-experts were not only concerned about direct influences of RM, but also about its potential indirect influences. These identified features are likely to be controversial issues when RM is introduced into society. It is important to promote early discussion of these issues by society as a whole.

Volume 10 • Issue 02 • 2011