Neuroethics News

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Technology's Intimate Insights at the BNA Christmas Event

The INS was delighted to be invited to participate in the British Neuroscience Association’s Christmas symposium on December 18, 2017. Around 300 people, mostly neuroscientists, attended "Brain Technologies: A Brave New World?" We heard presentations on ground-breaking new technology to replace missing limbs, and to treat stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, disorders of consciousness, and even eating disorders.

Image of Praminda Caleb-Solley, Elaine Snell and Stephen Rainey

The day ended with the INS session entitled, "Getting to know you: Technology’s intimate insights into human behaviour," chaired by Elaine Snell. Dr Stephen Rainey, Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro for Practical Ethics, described BrainCom, a multidisciplinary European project developing neuroprosthetics for speech. Praminda Caleb-Solley, Associate Professor in Independent Living Systems at the University of the West of England, talked about assistive technology for elderly and disabled people. The presentations led to a lively discussion with the audience on some of the ethical issues associated with these devices, such as replacing human care, interpretation and use of the data acquired by the technology, and whether we are compromising individual agency and freedom.

Individuals who are members of both the INS and British Neuroscience Association (BNA) can receive a 10% discount on membership fees for both organizations.

New Group Membership Rates

We've just changed our group membership rates to the following schedule. Please consider whether group memberships make sense for your department or institution.

  • 10% for 5-9 members,
  • 15% for 10-14 members,
  • 20% for 15-19 members, and
  • 25% for 20 or more members.

Articles / Commentary

From Healthcare to Warfare and Reverse: How Should We Regulate Dual-Use Neurotechnology? – The authors outlined a new biosecurity framework specific to neurotechnology. While they declare an outright ban ethically unjustified, they call for regulations aimed at protecting the mental privacy and integrity of humans. The University of Basel has issued a press release on this research. – Marcello Ienca, Fabrice Jotterand and Bernice Simone Elger (Neuron)

Ethical Design of Intelligent Assistive Technologies for Dementia: A Descriptive Review – Marcello Ienca, Tenzin Wangmo, Fabrice Jotterand, Reto W. Kressig and Bernice Elger (Science and Engineering Ethics)

Brain imaging tests for chronic pain: medical, legal and ethical issues and recommendations – Karen D. Davis, Herta Flor, Henry T. Greely, Gian Domenico Iannetti, Sean Mackey, Markus Ploner, Amanda Pustilnik, Irene Tracey, Rolf-Detlef Treede and Tor D. Wager (Nature Reviews Neurology)

A Field Guide to Deception – "Given the chance to lie for their own benefit, which people will take the opportunity? What percentage always tell the truth regardless of how much is at stake? And what percentage always lie to maximize their gain?" – Emerging Technology from the arXiv (MIT Technology Review)

The non-binary brain – "Misogynists are fascinated by the idea that human brains are biologically male or female. But they’ve got the science wrong" – Emily Willingham (Aeon)

“Brain-on-a-Chip” Devices Are Changing How We Study the Brain – Researchers are refining "brain-on-a-chip" technology, which could one day eliminate the need for animal — or even human — testing for a number of neurological diseases and conditions. – Abby Norman (Futurism)

Moral Bioenhancement for Social Welfare: Are Civic Institutions Ready? – John R. Shook and James J. Giordano (Frontiers in Sociology)

The Role of Neuroscience in the Evaluation of Mental Insanity: on the Controversies in Italy – Cristina Scarpazza, Silvia Pellegrini, Pietro Pietrini and Giuseppe Sartori (Neuroethics)

Legal Ownership Is Psychological: Evidence from Young Children – Ori Friedman, Madison Pesowski, & Brandon Goulding (Psychological ownership and consumer behavior)

A New Mind-Body Problem – "For bioethicists, the moral critiques of this surgery practically write themselves: Are we merely our bodies?" – Arthur Caplan & Lisa Kearns (The Hastings Center)

Member News

Adrian Carter

Neuroethics Documentary – The "Ethics of Neuroscience" documentary from Monash University—featuring INS member Adrian Carter, as well as a wide range of scholars in the field—highlights the need to investigate the capabilities of neuroscience and ask the ethical questions that will determine how far we can push the science of mind and behavior.

Helen Mayberg

Mayberg on the Cerebrum Podcast – INS Board Member Helen Mayberg—a behavioral neurologist with an international reputation for her pioneering research to map the brain circuits implicated in depression—recently talked about co-authoring a Cerebrum article titled "Neuroimaging Advances for Depression" and her recent move from Emory University's School of Medicine to become the founding director of The Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics at Mt. Sinai.

Illes Appointed to the Order of Canada – This December, INS Past President Judy Illes was appointed into the Order of Canada. Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to the country. Congratulations!

Singh Featured in BNA Bulletin – The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) recently highlighted INS member Ilina Singh and neuroethics in their fall bulletin (Issue 81) in an article titled, "The Listening Project." Singh emphasizes the importance of neuroscientists to engage in contemplation and discussion of the ethical aspects of their research and a stronger relationship between science, medicine and ethics.

Calls / Announcements

Call for Papers – The Italian Society for Neuroethics has announced a call for papers for the 10th edition of the International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and 5th Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe). Submissions can be experimental, theoretical, analytical, or critical works. Special consideration will be given to the following topics: cognitive enhancement; moral cognition; neurolaw; free will, consciousness and philosophy of cognitive science; and clinical applications of technological innovations. Applicants may only send one contribution as first authors. Submissions are due February 1./p>

Call for Papers – Organizers of the conference on "Evolutionary ethics: The nuts and bolts approach" are accepting philosophical papers that engage with the sciences, and empirical papers that engage with philosophical themes to naturalize ethics. Speakers afrom a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to submit an abstract, including but not limited to, philosophy, developmental and comparative psychology, cognitive anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, and behavioral economics. Of particularly interest are papers that bridge philosophy with one or more of these disciplines. Submissions are due February 1.

Open Panel Proposals – The 4sSydney event is accepting proposals for an open panel titled "Neurosocieties: Interdisciplinary Explorations of the Brain, Culture and Ethics." The panel will address themes such as: the influence of brain-based explanations of personhood, health and behavior in contemporary communities; how these explanations align and conflict with other ways of making sense of personhood; new social forms emerging in response to the rising prestige of neurosciences; and the responsible management of the expectations of patients, families and carers regarding promising neuro-interventions. Abstracts are proposals are due February 1.

2018 Brain Awareness Week – Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on brain-related topics; social media campaigns; displays at libraries and community centers; classroom workshops; and more. Mark your calendars: this year's campaign will be observed March 12-18. Start planning your activities and be sure to inform your neuroethics colleagues!

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