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Neuroethics News

Homo Ex Machina Play

A new play titled "Homo Ex Machina," written and directed by INS member Karola Kreitmair, will premiere May 3 at Stanford University. The production deals with neurotechnology and existentialist themes through the experiences of Charlie and Maggie, a couple navigating the difficulties of a neurodegenerative disease diagnosis and the outcomes from an experimental treatment.

Increased Funding for the BRAIN Initiative

The U.S. Congress recently passed a budget bill that promises increased funding to the NIH, including significant increases for the BRAIN Initiative.  In fiscal year 2017, Congress appropriated $250 million to support the BRAIN Initiative, with an additional $10 million coming from the Cures Act Innovation Fund. In fiscal year 2018, Congress has provided an additional $140 million, of which $86 million is from the Cures Act Innovation Fund. The funding will help accelerate BRAIN's mission to develop and apply innovative tools and neurotechnologies, as well as to support researchers as they seek new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.

Seeking Volunteers for the Membership Task Force

A new INS Membership Task Force has been formed and will operate through the 2019 annual meeting with the goal of increasing the Society’s membership. It is chaired by Professor Jennifer Chandler and currently includes Dr. Tom Insel, Dr. Veljko Dubljevic, and Roland Nadler—but it could use a few more good people! If you are interested, or know another member you think would be great for it, please email Karen Graham ([email protected]).

Oxford Regional Meeting

The INS is organizing a regional meeting June 1 on "Human Brain Organoids: the Science, the Ethics" with the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities at the University of Oxford. The event will be chaired by INS Board member Ilina Singh, University of Oxford (UK). Speakers include INS President Hank Greely, Stanford University (USA); Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford (UK); and additional speakers to be announced.

INS Annual Meeting Announcements

Calls / Announcements

Call for Abstracts – The abstract submission period for the Society for Neuroscience 2018 annual meeting opens April 12 and closes May 3.

NAMHC Policy Session – The National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) will host an open policy session on May 17 in Bethesda, MD and via videocast. Planned presenters and discussions include: Joshua Gordon, NIMH Director, will give a report on NIMH; Eliseo Pérez-Stable, Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), will discuss updates on NIMHD; Andrea Beckel-Mitchener, Acting Director of the Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health, will report on the inclusion of women and minorities in NIMH research; Bruce Cuthbert, Director of the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit, will present an update from the RDoC Changes to Matrix Workgroup. Registration by May 15 is required.

Call for Abstracts – The University of Antwerp Centre for Philosophical Psychology is now accepting submissions for the Causality in the Neuro- and Psychological Sciences 2018 conference. The conference aims to bring together philosophers and scientists to explore the notion of causality at the interplay of the neurological and psychological sciences. They invite submissions on a wide range of topics, but all topics engaging with both causality and the neuro- and/or psychological sciences will be considered. Abstracts are due May 15.

Request for Proposals – Neuroethics Canada at the University of British Columbia is seeking proposals for the second volume of Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics. There are several topics of special interest, but all proposals will be considered equally based on the strength of the volume editor or editor group, and the proposed table of contents. Proposals are due June 1.

Call for Papers – The Center for Cognition and Neuroethics is paper submission for the Philosophy of Science Annual Conference to be held July 19-20 in Flint, MI, USA. Submissions may address topics within the natural, social, or medical sciences and may have a theoretical, practical or historical focus. Authors from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to submit. Accepted paper sessions will include 20 minutes for a presentation followed by a 20 minutes Q/A period. Submissions are due June 1.

Call for Submissions – The German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics is seeking submissions for symposiums and oral presentations for the DGPPN Congress 2018, titled "Focusing on the Future." The program will feature relevant mental illnesses and emphasize biological, psychotherapeutic, and social psychiatry topics. Health, political, societal, and cultural issues will also be an important focus. Symposium proposals are due April 13 and oral presentation and poster submissions are due June 22.

Member News

It's Not My Fault, My Brain Implant Made Me Do ItLaura Cabrera and Jennifer Carter-Johnson (Scientific American / The Conversation)

Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Policy Implications in International Perspectives – There is a growing literature in neuroethics dealing with cognitive neuro-enhancement for healthy adults. However, discussions on this topic tend to focus on abstract theoretical positions while concrete policy proposals and detailed models are scarce. Furthermore, discussions appear to rely solely on data from the US or UK, while international perspectives are mostly non-existent. This volume, edited by INS members Fabrice Jotterand and Veljko Dubljevic, fills this gap and addresses issues on cognitive enhancement comprehensively in three important ways: 1) it examines the conceptual implications stemming from competing points of view about the nature and goals of enhancement; 2) it addresses the ethical, social, and legal implications of neuroenhancement from an international and global perspective including contributions from scholars in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America; and 3) it discusses and analyzes concrete legal issues and policy options tailored to specific contexts. – Edited by Fabrice Jotterand and Veljko Dubljevic (Oxford University Press)

"My Brain Made Me Do It" Is Becoming a More Common Criminal Defense – The Scientific American recently published an article surrounding the phenomenon of defendants beginning to use their brains as a defense in criminal court, often admitting neuroscientific evidence in the process. In the discussion, INS Board member Nita Farahany and INS Past President Steven Hyman weigh in with their expertise. Farahany highlights that in 2012 this brain-based defense was cited in, "over 250 judicial opinions—more than double the number in 2007," and has increased to nearly 420 cases annually. Hyman goes on to discuss the recent meeting of a committee within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in response to this phenomenon titled, "Neuroforensics: Exploring the Legal Implications of Emerging Neurotechnologies." Hyman explains that, "[t]he meeting is largely future-oriented, and focused not so much on law enforcement use, but on admissibility in court." – Dina Fine Maron (Scientific American)

Additional Neuroethics News

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