UPenn's Gutmann and Harvard's Garber to speak at annual bioethics lecture

Watch the streaming video of author Daniel Callahan discussing his book at an HMS public forum

Should the FDA regulate the sale of these devices? Should use of brain stimulation to enhance performance in gaming and recreation be prohibited, discouraged, encouraged, or required? Should a physician's prescription be required? Watch our panel discuss the science, ethics, and regulation of do-it-yourself brain stimulation and other forms of cognitive enhancement.

What are the implications of detecting consciousness in someone who looks and acts unconscious? Can and should this information be used to treat patients and manage expectations of caregivers? If so, how? The use of technology to detect consciousness raises a host of questions not only pertinent to medicine and science, but also to law, philosophy, ethics and beyond – questions at the heart of what it means to be conscious, and to recognize consciousness in others.

Visible Solutions

Can brain imaging be a “pain-o-meter” that tells courts when a person is in pain?  Can fMRI help us discern whether intractable chronic pain is “all in your head” or all in the brain – or will it require us to reconsider that distinction?

Since alterations in the brain have the potential to alter cognition, personality, and even the sense of self, do surgical innovations require special ethical consideration? Should "invasiveness" matter ethically, or do we simply weigh risks against benefits?  Should we have distinct policy or regulation regarding neurosurgical innovation? Do patients contemplating such innovations require special protections?

Does Brain Difference Affect Legal and Moral Responsibility?

Brains create behavior. Yet we hold people, not brains, morally and legally responsible for their actions. Under what conditions could -- or should -- brain disorder affect the ways in which we assign moral and legal responsibility to a person?

Zurich

The Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine of the University of Zurich in collaboration with the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School will offer the first Intensive Bioethics Course, which will be also the 10-year anniversar

The prospect of using noninvasive brain stimulation for neuroenhancement in healthy individuals generates a host of ethical questions: What constitutes normal versus impaired ability? Which neurological functions can be ethically improved, and which, if any, should remain unchanged?

As neuroimaging and other technologies advance, will traditionally-excluded tests of veracity (or lack thereof) find a place in American courtrooms?