Hot Topics: Neuroethics

Blog Posts (36)

June 1, 2016

Should we medicate healthy children to fight social inequality?

by Sebastian Sattler, PhD

A proposed solution seeks a quick fix, without tackling the deep roots of the problem.

It’s a statistic that seems almost unbelievable: the richest one percent now has more wealth than the rest of the world combined, according to an Oxfam report.…

March 28, 2016

In Defense of Intuition- Or, a Lesson for Empirical Bioethics

by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

On March 17, 2016 philosopher Peter Railton delivered the Ethics, Politics, and Society lecture at Rice University.…

June 15, 2015

Welcoming the Concept of Alief to Medical Ethics

Welcoming the Concept of Alief to Medical Ethics

 by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

Philosopher Tamar Gendler has introduced (circa 2008) a new concept in the philosophical literature that could be of interest to medical ethicists.…

April 27, 2015

Unenhanced Thoughts about Neural Enhancement

An April 20th post in the Hastings Center’s “Bioethics Forum” brings attention the recent report by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI) entitled, “Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.” Chapter 2, “Cognitive Enhancement and Beyond” is a useful summary of issues surrounding “cognitive enhancement,” and provides a brief overview of three scientific goals: maintaining or improving... // Read More »
March 30, 2015

Head Transplants, Personal Identity, and Derek Parfit

by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

In a recent article in New Scientist (, Italian neurologist Sergio Canavero claims that the first human head transplant could occur as early as 2017.…

March 25, 2015

A Pill for Compassion or Misunderstood Science?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

For at least a decade, studies have shown that empathy and compassion decline in medical students.…

October 14, 2014

Cognitive (neuro)science and bioethics

by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

In a recent article in Ethics, “Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics,” Josh Greene argues that empirical research in moral judgment has significant relevance for normative ethics in that it (1) exposes the inner workings of our moral judgments, revealing that we should have less confidence in some of our judgments and the ethical theories that are based on them, and (2) informs us of where we tend to rely on intuition or automatic processing (which is often heavily emotive), but ought to rely more manual, controlled processing (such as consequentialist reasoning).…

September 9, 2014

What Should We Forget?

In January MIT announced a research study published in the journal Cell that reported a way to erase traumatic memories in lab mice using a drug that makes the brain “more plastic, more capable of forming very strong new memories that will override the old fearful memories.” MIT opened its story by referring to “nearly 8 million Americans [who] suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),”... // Read More »
April 29, 2014

The Price of Consciousness

<p>Earlier this month, the New York Times (NYT) reported on individuals in a minimally conscious state (MCS). Although the article headed: ‘<a href="">PET Scans offer clues on Vegetative States</a>’, its contents addressed the technologies around MCS: a ‘<a href="">newly</a>’ diagnosed state of consciousness. The paper commented that PET scans would be more beneficial than functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (functional M.R.I.) in diagnosing this state. Around the same time, the NYT published a paper that headed: ‘<a href="">Cost of treatment may influence doctors</a>’. This paper quoted a doc saying: “There should be forces in society who should be concerned about the budget, about how many M.R.I.s we do, but they shouldn’t be functioning simultaneously as doctors,”</p> <p>In this blog post I want to focus on the cost and price of consciousness. I do not only want to focus on the economic costs, but also on costs in a more holistic sense, including the psychological and emotional costs. In the end, I want to ask you: how much is consciousness worth to you?</p> <p><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="">website</a>.bvg</strong></p>
April 11, 2014

What Price Immortality? Privately Funded Projects and the Prolongation of Life

By Richard Koo, Bioethics Program Alum (MS Bioethics 2011) and Adjunct Faculty Seemingly ripped from the covers of comic books, no less than three privately funded projects seeking the prolongation of human life have been publicized in the past year. The 2045 Initiative, dubbed “the Avatar Project”, is arguably the most futuristic and non-traditional of the […]

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Published Articles (86)

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 7 Issue 2 - Apr 2016

Ethics of Decoded Neurofeedback in Clinical Research, Treatment, and Moral Enhancement Eisuke Nakazawa, Keiichiro Yamamoto, Koji Tachibana, Soichiro Toda, Yoshiyuki Takimoto & Akira Akabayashi

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 7 Issue 2 - Apr 2016

The Arts and Sciences of Reading: Humanities in The Laboratory Lindsey Grubbs

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 7 Issue 2 - Apr 2016

The Relevance and Context of Research Laura Otis

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 6 - Jun 2016

Not Just “Study Drugs” for the Rich: Stimulants as Moral Tools for Creating Opportunities for Socially Disadvantaged Students Keisha Shantel Ray

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 5 - May 2016

Biases and Heuristics in Decision Making and Their Impact on Autonomy J. S. Blumenthal-Barby

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 7 Issue 1 - Apr 2016

Inference and Inductive Risk in Disorders of Consciousness L. Syd M. Johnson

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 7 Issue 1 - Apr 2016

Ethical Challenges of Simulation-Driven Big Neuroscience Markus Christen, Nikola Biller-Andorno, Berit Bringedal, Kevin Grimes, Julian Savulescu & Henrik Walter

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 5 Issue 2 - Mar 2014

Controlling Bias in Forensic Radiology Carolyn Meltzer & John Banja

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 5 Issue 2 - Mar 2014

Brain Imaging in the Courtroom: The Quest for Legal Relevance Stephen J. Morse

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 5 Issue 2 - Mar 2014

Daubert, Frye and DTI: Hijacking the Right to Trial by Jury William G. Jungbauer & Christopher W. Bowman

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News (423)

July 22, 2016 8:35 am

Mind over gray matter: new map lays out brain's cerebral cortex (Reuters)

Neuroscientists acting as cartographers of the human mind have devised the most comprehensive map ever made of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher cognitive functions such as abstract thought, language and memory.

May 26, 2016 9:15 am

Antimicrobial Mechanism Gone Rogue May Play Role in Alzheimer's Disease (Scientific American)

General consensus among Alzheimer’s researchers has it that the disease’s main culprit, a protein called amyloid beta, is an unfortunate waste product that is not known to play any useful role in the body—and one that can have devastating consequences. When not properly cleared from the brain it builds up into plaques that destroy synapses, the junctions between nerve cells, resulting in cognitive decline and memory loss. The protein has thus become a major drug target in the search for a cure to Alzheimer’s.

January 29, 2016 11:08 am

Landmark schizophrenia study expands on gene link, timing

Scientists say they have broken new ground in the study of schizophrenia, uncovering a potentially powerful genetic contributor to the mental disorder and helping to explain why its symptoms of confused and delusional thinking most often reach a crisis state as a person nears the cusp of adulthood.

January 28, 2016 1:07 pm

Can monkeys help unravel the mysteries of autism?

Chinese scientists report they’ve created monkeys that carry a gene linked to autism-like behaviors.

January 25, 2016 4:10 pm

Pets on Prozac: Dogs Take Medication to Help with Separation Anxiety

A video she recorded after she left the dog alone for five hours showed Hachi in a full-blown panic attack, opening the refrigerator door and pulling items out.

January 21, 2016 3:33 pm

Darpa 'already implanting chips in brains of wounded US soldiers returning from Middle East'

A new book written about the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) says that wounded soldiers returning from campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq are having computer chips implanted in their brains to help them heal.

September 18, 2015 5:38 pm

New: 87 Deceased NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease

A total of 87 out of 91 former NFL players have tested positive for the brain disease at the center of the debate over concussions in football, according to new figures from the nation’s largest brain bank focused on the study of traumatic head injury.

July 10, 2015 5:23 pm

Scientists Demonstrate Animal Mind-Melds

A single neuron can’t do much on its own, but link billions of them together into a network and you’ve got a brain.

June 18, 2015 1:53 pm

Brain implant trials raise ethical concerns

In 1980, an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy had an electrical stimulator implanted into his cerebellum to treat the involuntary muscle contractions that contorted his body. Once the device was switched on, the boy’s erratic movements calmed.

May 8, 2015 7:09 pm

Healthy diet tied to lower risk of cognitive decline

Older people who eat healthy, with more fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish in their diets, may be less likely to experience declines in thinking and memory over time, according to a new international study.

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