As scientists develop powerful neurotechnologies to monitor and regulate brain activity, ethical questions arise about how these new tools should be incorporated into medical research and clinical practice. To inform this discussion, the National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to five teams of experts who will study the neuroethical issues surrounding the use of deep brain stimulation in neuropsychiatric and movement disorders and appropriate consent for brain research. The grants are part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
One of the five grants was awarded to CNEP faculty members Winston Chiong and Edward Chang:
Achieving Ethical Integration in the Development of Novel Neurotechnologies
Principal Investigator: Winston Chiong, MD/Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
MH114860 — New technologies that adjust brain function by assessing neural activity and stimulating specific regions have the potential to help individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders. However, these treatment strategies also raise a number of concerns regarding control of an individual’s thoughts and emotions as well as how they see themselves. Dr. Chiong will lead a multidisciplinary team, including experts in neuroscience, law and philosophy, that will work closely with researchers who are creating devices to regulate brain activity. This innovative collaborative approach to research will ensure that the ethical concerns of patients, caregivers and clinicians are addressed from the initial phases of the research plan and may help enable acceptability of new treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders.