Hot Topics: Neuroethics

Blog Posts (37)

May 23, 2017

Dear Mr. President: It’s Time for Your Bioethics Commission

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week, seven Democratic members of the U.S. House Representatives sent a letter to the White House asking President Trump to appoint a director to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), position that normally serves as the presidential science advisor.…

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 (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530103.700-first-human-head-transplant-could-happen-in-two-years.html?full=true#.VRbZpUJ3XuV), 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="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/health/pet-scans-found-to-clarify-vegetative-state.html">PET Scans offer clues on Vegetative States</a>’, its contents addressed the technologies around MCS: a ‘<a href="https://www.neurology.org/content/58/3/349.full">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="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/business/treatment-cost-could-influence-doctors-advice.html">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="http://www.amc.edu/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.bvg</strong></p>

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Published Articles (108)

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

Disorders of Consciousness, Agency, and Health Care Decision Making: Lessons From a Developmental Model Megan S. Wright, Claudia Kraft, Michael R. Ulrich & Joseph J. Fins

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

The Impact of a Landmark Neuroscience Study on Free Will: A Qualitative Analysis of Articles Using Libet and Colleagues' Methods Victoria Saigle, Veljko Dubljević & Eric Racine

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

When Does Consciousness Matter? Lessons From the Minimally Conscious State Joseph Vukov

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

Temporal Naturalism, Free Will, and the Cartesian Myth: Time Is NOT Illusory and We Are NOT ‘Talking Heads’ Gary Goldberg

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

Would you be willing to zap your child's brain? Public perspectives on parental responsibilities and the ethics of enhancing children with transcranial direct current stimulation Katy Wagner, Hannah Maslen, Justin Oakley & Julian Savulescu

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 4 - Nov 2017

Ahead of Our Time: Why Head Transplantation Is Ethically Unsupportable Paul Root Wolpe

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 4 - Nov 2017

HEAVEN in the Making: Between the Rock (the Academe) and a Hard Case (a Head Transplant) Xiaoping Ren & Sergio Canavero

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 4 - Nov 2017

The Rubicon Already Crossed Karen S. Rommelfanger & Paul F. Boshears

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 3 - Oct 2017

Cogitas Ergo Es? Metaphysical Humility in Disorders of Consciousness Douglas C. McAdams, W. Kevin Conley II & G. Kevin Donovan

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 3 - Oct 2017

Is That the Same Person? Case Studies in Neurosurgery Nancy S. Jecker & Andrew L. Ko

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News (428)

March 21, 2018 9:00 am

U.K. attack shines spotlight on deadly nerve agent developed by Soviet scientists (Science)

One of the world’s deadliest poisons has emerged from the shadows after the audacious attempt earlier this month to murder a former Russian spy on U.K. soil. Scientists are racing to unravel why the mysterious nerve agent, concocted by Soviet chemists in the 1970s, is so potent.

March 1, 2018 9:00 am

Sex and drugs and self-control: how the teen brain navigates risk (Nature)

It’s not just about rebellion. Neuroscience is revealing adolescents’ rich and nuanced relationship with risky behavior.

August 4, 2017 9:00 am

Chimpanzees are first animal shown to develop telltale markers of Alzheimer's disease (Nature)

Aged chimpanzees develop brain characteristics that are similar — but not identical — to those seen in early Alzheimer’s disease in humans, researchers report on 1 August in Neurobiology of Aging. The findings from humanity’s closest relatives could help researchers to understand why people develop dementia, as well as suggest that caretakers of aging, captive chimpanzees watch them closely for behavioural changes.

July 28, 2017 9:00 am

Ninety-nine percent of ailing NFL player brains sport hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease, autopsy study finds (Science)

The largest study of its kind has found damage in the vast majority of former football players’ brains donated for research after they developed mental symptoms during life. Of 202 former players of the U.S. version of the game whose brains were examined, 87% showed the diagnostic signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease associated with repetitive head trauma.

December 7, 2016 9:00 am

Newly discovered state of memory could help explain learning and brain disorders (Science)

This new memory state could have a range of practical implications, from helping college students learn more efficiently to assisting people with memory-related neurological conditions.

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.

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