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Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

ISSN Print: 2151-805X
ISSN Online: 2151-8068

Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/EthicsBiologyEngMed.2015015333
pages 37-41

Minding Brain Science in Medicine: On the Need for Neuroethical Engagement for Guidance of Neuroscience in Clinical Contexts

James Giordano
Generation Research Program, Human Science Center, Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat, Munchen, GER; Department of Neurology and Neuroethics Studies Program, Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC, USA
John R. Shook
Department of Philosophy, and Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, Buffalo New York, USA

ABSTRACT

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI) released the second volume of its Gray Matters report in March 2015 to address neuroethical, legal, and social issues arising in and from efforts of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. In concert with recommendations made in the Gray Matters volumes, we herein offer what we believe to be four crucial−and actionable−goals for neuroethics: First, neuroethics should be dedicated to evaluating the validity and value of current and proposed approaches to assessing and altering the structure and functions of the brain. Second, neuroethical tools and methods must be developed to interpret, and enable sound use of neuroscientific information, techniques, and technologies in biomedical research and clinical practice. Third, neuroethics should use newly emerging neuroscientific findings to inform common conceptions and definitions of the normal structure and functions of the brain, and how the brain should be treated to recover or improve its functional capacities. Fourth, neuroethics should be prominently featured in the education and training of researchers and clinicians, so as to enable more pragmatic and ethically prudent capability in laboratory and clinical settings, as well as policy- and public-oriented fields, organizations, and agencies.