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Summary Neuroethics is a nascent subdiscipline that has emerged out of bioethics and neuroscience to consider both the ethical and metaphysical implications of neuroscience, particularly recent developments in neuroetechnology. The scope of neuroethics is broad and heterogeneous, and the field is sometimes bifurcated into "the ethics of neuroscience" and "the neuroscience of ethics." Specific areas of neuroethical interest include: cognitive enhancement, disorders of consciousness and neurological impairment, psychiatric disorders, brain imaging, free will/moral responsibility, and addiction, and the neuroscientific study of morality and decision-making.
Key works The broad scope of neuroethics defies a concise bibliography. Moreover, while there is overlap in some foci of neuroethics, there are also regions that stand apart. This article reflects neuroethics' origins as a subdiscipline of bioethics by examining ethical issues in clinical neuroscience (Glannon 2011). The moral significance of consciousness (Kahane&Savulescu 2009), and the role of neuroscience in illuminating the "problem of other minds" with respect to brain damage, and nonhuman animals (Farah 2008) is a subject with an extensive literature. Works on issues related to control, responsibility, freedom, and addiction include Hall 2003 and Glannon 2013Persson&Savulescu 2008 proposes both cognitive and moral enhancement. The neuroscience of ethics overlaps considerably with the work of experimental philosophers, e.g. Knobe 2003Greene unknown, and Appiah 2008.
Introductions For a general introductions to neuroethics, see Illes&Sahakian 2011 and Levy 2009.
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  1. Christopher P. Adkins (2011). Once More with Feeling : Integrating Emotion in Teaching Business Ethics' Educational Implications From Cognitive Neuroscience and Social Psychology. In Ronald R. Sims & William I. Sauser (eds.), Experiences in Teaching Business Ethics. Information Age Pub..
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  2. Sabina Alam, Jigisha Patel & James Giordano (2012). Working Towards a New Psychiatry - Neuroscience, Technology and the DSM-5. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 7 (1):1-.
    This Editorial introduces the thematic series on 'Toward a New Psychiatry: Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Classification, Diagnosis and Care' http://www.biomedcentral.com/series/newpsychiatry.
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  3. Jami L. Anderson (2013). A Dash of Autism. In Jami L. Anderson Simon Cushing (ed.), The Philosophy of Autism.
    In this chapter, I describe my “post-diagnosis” experiences as the parent of an autistic child, those years in which I tried, but failed, to make sense of the overwhelming and often nonsensical information I received about autism. I argue that immediately after being given an autism diagnosis, parents are pressured into making what amounts to a life-long commitment to a therapy program that (they are told) will not only dramatically change their child, but their family’s financial situation and even their (...)
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  4. J. M. Appel (2008). When the Boss Turns Pusher: A Proposal for Employee Protections in the Age of Cosmetic Neurology. Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (8):616-618.
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  5. Paul S. Appelbaum, Michael J. Devlin & Carl E. Fisher (2010). Parsing Neurobiological Dysfunctions in Obesity: Nosologic and Ethical Consequences. American Journal of Bioethics 10 (12):14-16.
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  6. Kwame Anthony Appiah (2010). More Experiments in Ethics. Neuroethics 3 (3):233-242.
    This paper responds to the four critiques of my book Experiments in Ethics published in this issue. The main theme I take up is how we should understand the relation between psychology and philosophy. Young and Saxe believe that “bottom line” evaluative judgments don’t depend on facts. I argue for a different view, according to which our evaluative and non-evaluative judgments must cohere in a way that makes it rational, sometimes, to abandon even what looks like a basic evaluative judgment (...)
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  7. A. Asai, M. Maekawa, I. Akiguchi, T. Fukui, Y. Miura, N. Tanabe & S. Fukuhara (1999). Survey of Japanese Physicians' Attitudes Towards the Care of Adult Patients in Persistent Vegetative State. Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (4):302-308.
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  8. Stephen Ashwal (2003). Medical Aspects of the Minimally Conscious State in Children. Brain and Development 25 (8):535-545.
  9. Laura J. Bach & Anthony S. David (2006). Self-Awareness After Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 16 (4):397-414.
  10. D. A. Baker, N. J. Schweitzer & Evan F. Risko (2014). Perceived Access to Self-Relevant Information Mediates Judgments of Privacy Violations in Neuromonitoring and Other Monitoring Technologies. Neuroethics 7 (1):43-50.
    Advances in technology are bringing greater insight into the mind, raising a host of privacy concerns. However, the basic psychological mechanisms underlying the perception of privacy violations are poorly understood. Here, we explore the relation between the perception of privacy violations and access to information related to one’s “self.” In two studies using demographically diverse samples, we find that privacy violations resulting from various monitoring technologies are mediated by the extent to which the monitoring is thought to provide access to (...)
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  11. Tyler D. Bancroft (2013). Ethical Aspects of Computational Neuroscience. Neuroethics 6 (2):415-418.
    Recent research in computational neuroscience has demonstrated that we now possess the ability to simulate neural systems in significant detail and on a large scale. Simulations on the scale of a human brain have recently been reported. The ability to simulate entire brains (or significant portions thereof) would be a revolutionary scientific advance, with substantial benefits for brain science. However, the prospect of whole-brain simulation comes with a set of new and unique ethical questions. In the present paper, we briefly (...)
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  12. Charles H. Baron (1991). Why Withdrawal of Life-Support for PVS Patients Is Not a Family Decision. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 19 (1-2):73-75.
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  13. Françoise Baylis (2013). “I Am Who I Am”: On the Perceived Threats to Personal Identity From Deep Brain Stimulation. [REVIEW] Neuroethics 6 (3):513-526.
    This article explores the notion of the dislocated self following deep brain stimulation (DBS) and concludes that when personal identity is understood in dynamic, narrative, and relational terms, the claim that DBS is a threat to personal identity is deeply problematic. While DBS may result in profound changes in behaviour, mood and cognition (characteristics closely linked to personality), it is not helpful to characterize DBS as threatening to personal identity insofar as this claim is either false, misdirected or trivially true. (...)
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  14. Françoise Baylis & Jocelyn Downie (2009). Drilling Down in Neuroethics. Bioethics 23 (6):iii-iv.
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  15. Françoise Baylis & Andrew Fenton (2007). Chimera Research and Stem Cell Therapies for Human Neurodegenerative Disorders. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16 (02):195-208.
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  16. J. Graham Beaumont & Pamela M. Kenealy (2005). Incidence and Prevalence of the Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 15 (3):184-189.
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  17. Tristan Bekinschtein, Cecilia Tiberti, Jorge Niklison, Mercedes Tamashiro, Melania Ron, Silvina Carpintiero, Mirta Villarreal, Cecilia Forcato, Ramon Leiguarda & Facundo Manes (2005). Assessing Level of Consciousness and Cognitive Changes From Vegetative State to Full Recovery. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. Vol 15 (3-4):307-322.
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  18. Stephanie Bell, Adrian Carter, Rebecca Mathews, Coral Gartner, Jayne Lucke & Wayne Hall (2014). Views of Addiction Neuroscientists and Clinicians on the Clinical Impact of a 'Brain Disease Model of Addiction'. Neuroethics 7 (1):19-27.
    Addiction is increasingly described as a “chronic and relapsing brain disease”. The potential impact of the brain disease model on the treatment of addiction or addicted individuals’ treatment behaviour remains uncertain. We conducted a qualitative study to examine: (i) the extent to which leading Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians accept the brain disease view of addiction; and (ii) their views on the likely impacts of this view on addicted individuals’ beliefs and behaviour. Thirty-one Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians (10 females (...)
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  19. Francois Berger, Sjef Gevers, Ludwig Siep & Klaus-Michael Weltring (2008). Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Brain-Implants Using Nano-Scale Materials and Techniques. Nanoethics 2 (3):241-249.
    Nanotechnology is an important platform technology which will add new features like improved biocompatibility, smaller size, and more sophisticated electronics to neuro-implants improving their therapeutic potential. Especially in view of possible advantages for patients, research and development of nanotechnologically improved neuro implants is a moral obligation. However, the development of brain implants by itself touches many ethical, social and legal issues, which also apply in a specific way to devices enabled or improved by nanotechnology. For researchers developing nanotechnology such issues (...)
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  20. Selim Berker (2009). The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience. Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):293-329.
    It has been claimed that the recent wave of neuroscientific research into the physiological underpinnings of our moral intuitions has normative implications. In particular, it has been claimed that this research discredits our deontological intuitions about cases, without discrediting our consequentialist intuitions about cases. In this paper I demur. I argue that such attempts to extract normative conclusions from neuroscientific research face a fundamental dilemma: either they focus on the emotional or evolved nature of the psychological processes underlying deontological intuitions, (...)
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  21. James L. Bernat (2006). Chronic Disorders of Consciousness. Lancet 367 (9517):1181-1192.
  22. James L. Bernat (2006). The Concept and Practice of Brain Death. In Steven Laureys (ed.), Boundaries of Consciousness. Elsevier.
  23. J. Andrew Billings, Larry R. Churchill & Richard Payne (2010). Severe Brain Injury and the Subjective Life. Hastings Center Report 40 (3):17-21.
  24. J. P. Bishop & E. L. Bedford (2011). Medically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration: The Vegetative State and Beyond. Christian Bioethics 17 (2):97-104.
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  25. J. P. Bishop & D. R. Morrison (2011). The Roman Catholic Church, Biopolitics, and the Vegetative State. Christian Bioethics 17 (2):165-184.
    Compelled by recent public and politicized cases in which withdrawal of nutrition and hydration were at issue, this essay examines recent Church statements and argues that the distinction between private and public forms of human life is being lost. Effacing the distinction between the sphere of the home (oikos), where the maintenance of life (zoē) occurs, and the city (polis), where political and public life (bios) occurs, may have unforeseen and unwanted consequences. Through their well-intentioned efforts to preserve the sanctity (...)
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  26. J. Blandford (2011). An Examination of the Revisionist Challenge to the Catholic Tradition on Providing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration to Patients in a Persistent Vegetative State. Christian Bioethics 17 (2):153-164.
    The Catholic moral tradition has consistently offered the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary means as a framework for making end-of-life decisions. Recent papal allocutions, however, have raised the question of whether providing artificial nutrition to patients in a persistent vegetative state is to be considered ordinary and thus morally obligatory in all cases. I argue that this “revisionist” position is contrary to Catholic teaching and that enforcing such a position would endanger the ability of Catholic health care institutions to minister (...)
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  27. Robert H. Blank (2007). Policy Implications of the New Neuroscience. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16 (02):169-180.
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  28. Robert H. Blank (2002). Review of Jean-Pierre Changeux and Paul Ricoeur. 2000.What Makes Us Think? A Neuroscientist and Philosopher Argue About Ethics, Human Nature, and the Brain. [REVIEW] American Journal of Bioethics 2 (4):69-70.
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  29. J. S. Blumenthal-Barby (forthcoming). Psychiatry’s New Manual (DSM-5): Ethical and Conceptual Dimensions. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    The introduction of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 is being hailed as the biggest event in psychiatry in the last 10 years. In this paper I examine three important issues that arise from the new manual: (1) Expanding nosology: Psychiatry has again broadened its nosology to include human experiences not previously under its purview (eg, binge eating disorder, internet gaming disorder, caffeine use disorder, hoarding disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Consequencebased ethical concerns about this (...)
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  30. G. J. Boer (1999). Ethical Issues in Neurografting of Human Embryonic Cells. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (5):461-475.
    During the last decade neurotransplantation has developed into a technique with the possible potential to repair damaged or degenerating human brain. Effective neurotransplantation has so far been based on the use of fetal brain tissue derived from aborted embryos or fetuses. The ethical issues related to this new therapeutic approach therefore not only concern the possible adverse side effects for a neural graft-receiving patient, but also the relationship between the requirements for fetal tissue and the decision-making process for induced abortion. (...)
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  31. Ineke Bolt & Maartje Schermer (2009). Psychopharmaceutical Enhancers: Enhancing Identity? Neuroethics 2 (2):103-111.
    The use of psychopharmaceuticals to enhance human mental functioning such as cognition and mood has raised a debate on questions regarding identity and authenticity. While some hold that psychopharmaceutical substances can help users to ‘become who they really are’ and thus strengthen their identity and authenticity, others believe that the substances will lead to inauthenticity, normalization, and socially-enforced adaptation of behaviour and personality. In light of this debate, we studied how persons who actually have experience with the use of psychopharmaceutical (...)
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  32. Derek Bolton (1996). Mind, Meaning, and Mental Disorder: The Nature of Causal Explanation in Psychology and Psychiatry. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophical ideas about the mind, brain, and behavior can seem theoretical and unimportant when placed alongside the urgent questions of mental distress and disorder. However, there is a need to give direction to attempts to answer these questions. On the one hand, a substantial research effort is going into the investigation of brain processes and the development of drug treatments for psychiatric disorders, and on the other, a wide range of psychotherapies is becoming available to adults and children with mental (...)
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  33. Giacomo Bonanno, Christian List, Bertil Tungodden & Peter Vallentyne (2008). Introduction to the Special Issue of Economics and Philosophy on Neuroeconomics. Economics and Philosophy 24 (3):301-302.
    ABSTRACT The past fifteen years or so have witnessed considerable progress in our understanding of how the human brain works. One of the objectives of the fast-growing field of neuroscience is to deepen our knowledge of how the brain perceives and interacts with the external world. Advances in this direction have been made possible by progress in brain imaging techniques and by clinical data obtained from patients with localized brain lesions. A relatively new field within neuroscience is neuroeconomics, which focuses (...)
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  34. Enrique Bonete (2013). Neuroethics in Spain: Neurological Determinism or Moral Freedom? Neuroethics 6 (1):225-232.
    Spanish culture has recently shown interest about Neuroethics, a new line of research and reflection. It can be said that two general, and somewhat opposing, perspectives are currently being developed in Spain about neuroethics-related topics. One originates from the neuroscientific field and the other from the philosophical field. We will see, throughout this article, that the Spanish authors, who I am going to select here, deal with very diverse neuroethical topics and that they analyse them from different intellectual assumptions. However, (...)
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  35. Lisa Bortolotti (2009). Do We Have an Obligation to Make Smarter Babies? In T. Takala, P. Herrisone-Kelly & S. Holm (eds.), Cutting Through the Surface. Philosophical Approaches to Bioethics. Rodopi.
    In this paper I consider some issues concerning cognitive enhancements and the ethics of enhancing in reproduction and parenting. I argue that there are moral reasons to enhance the cognitive capacities of the children one has, or of the children one is going to have, and that these enhancements should not be seen as an alternative to pursuing important changes in society that might also improve one’s own and one’s children’s life. It has been argued that an emphasis on enhancing (...)
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  36. Nick Bostrom (forthcoming). Smart Policy: Cognitive Enhancement and the Public Interest. In Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Muelen & Guy Kahane (eds.), Enhancing Human Capabilities. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Cognitive enhancement may be defined as the amplification or extension of core capacities of the mind through improvement or augmentation of internal or external information processing systems. Cognition refers to the processes an organism uses to organize information. These include acquiring information (perception), selecting (attention), representing (understanding) and retaining (memory) information, and using it to guide behavior (reasoning and coordination of motor outputs). Interventions to improve cognitive function may be directed at any of these core faculties.
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  37. Alison C. Boyce (2009). Neuroimaging in Psychiatry: Evaluating the Ethical Consequences for Patient Care. Bioethics 23 (6):349-359.
    According to many researchers, it is inevitable and obvious that psychiatric illnesses are biological in nature, and that this is the rationale behind the numerous neuroimaging studies of individuals diagnosed with mental disorders. Scholars looking at the history of psychiatry have pointed out that in the past, the origins and motivations behind the search for biological causes, correlates, and cures for mental disorders are thoroughly social and historically rooted, particularly when the diagnostic category in question is the subject of controversy (...)
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  38. Matthew Braddock (2009). Evolutionary Psychology's Moral Implications. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):531-540.
    In this paper, I critically summarize John Cartwrtight’s Evolution and Human Behavior and evaluate what he says about certain moral implications of Darwinian views of human behavior. He takes a Darwinism-doesn’t-rock-the-boat approach and argues that Darwinism, even if it is allied with evolutionary psychology, does not give us reason to be worried about the alterability of our behavior, nor does it give us reason to think that we may have to change our ordinary practices and views concerning free-will and moral (...)
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  39. Frederic Bretzner, Frederic Gilbert, Françoise Baylis & Robert M. Brownstone (2011). Target Populations for First-In-Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Spinal Cord Injury. Cell Stem Cell 8 (5):468-475.
    Geron recently announced that it had begun enrolling patients in the world's first-in-human clinical trial involving cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). This trial raises important questions regarding the future of hESC-based therapies, especially in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. We address some safety and efficacy concerns with this research, as well as the ethics of fair subject selection. We consider other populations that might be better for this research: chronic complete SCI patients for a safety trial, subacute (...)
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  40. Baruch Brody (1992). Special Ethical Issues in the Management of PVS Patients. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 20 (1-2):104-115.
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  41. Matthew Broome & Lisa Bortolotti (eds.) (2009). Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    Neuroscience has long had an impact on the field of psychiatry, and over the last two decades, with the advent of cognitive neuroscience and functional neuroimaging, that influence has been most pronounced. However, many question whether psychopathology can be understood by relying on neuroscience alone, and highlight some of the perceived limits to the way in which neuroscience informs psychiatry. Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience is a philosophical analysis of the role of neuroscience in the study of psychopathology. The book examines (...)
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  42. Matthew Broome, Lisa Bortolotti & Matteo Mameli (2010). Moral Responsibility and Mental Illness: A Case Study. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 2 (19):179-187.
    It is far too early to say what global impact the neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric sciences will have on our intuitions about moral responsibility. And it is far too early to say whether the notion of moral responsibility will survive this impact (and if so, in what form). But it is certainly worth starting to think about the local impact that these sciences can or should have on some of our distinctions and criteria. It might be possible to use some of (...)
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  43. Jan Christoph Bublitz & Reinhard Merkel (2009). Autonomy and Authenticity of Enhanced Personality Traits. Bioethics 23 (6):360-374.
    There is concern that the use of neuroenhancements to alter character traits undermines consumer's authenticity. But the meaning, scope and value of authenticity remain vague. However, the majority of contemporary autonomy accounts ground individual autonomy on a notion of authenticity. So if neuroenhancements diminish an agent's authenticity, they may undermine his autonomy. This paper clarifies the relation between autonomy, authenticity and possible threats by neuroenhancements. We present six neuroenhancement scenarios and analyse how autonomy accounts evaluate them. Some cases are considered (...)
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  44. T. Buller (2006). What Can Neuroscience Contribute to Ethics? Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2):63-64.
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  45. Benjamin Capps (2011). Libertarianism, Legitimation, and the Problems of Regulating Cognition-Enhancing Drugs. Neuroethics 4 (2):119-128.
    Some libertarians tend to advocate the wide availability of cognition-enhancing drugs beyond their current prescription-only status. They suggest that certain kinds of drugs can be a component of a prudential conception of the ‘good life’—they enhance our opportunities and preferences; and therefore, if a person freely chooses to use them, then there is no justification for the kind of prejudicial, authoritative restrictions that are currently deployed in public policy. In particular, this libertarian idea signifies that if enhancements are a prudential (...)
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  46. Vanessa Carbonell (2012). Amnesia, Anesthesia, and Warranted Fear. Bioethics.
  47. Adrian Carter, Polly Ambermoon & Wayne D. Hall (2011). Drug-Induced Impulse Control Disorders: A Prospectus for Neuroethical Analysis. Neuroethics 4 (2):91-102.
    There is growing evidence that dopamine replacement therapy (DRT) used to treat Parkinson’s Disease can cause compulsive behaviours and impulse control disorders (ICDs), such as pathological gambling, compulsive buying and hypersexuality. Like more familiar drug-based forms of addiction, these iatrogenic disorders can cause significant harm and distress for sufferers and their families. In some cases, people treated with DRT have lost their homes and businesses, or have been prosecuted for criminal sexual behaviours. In this article we first examine the evidence (...)
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  48. Adrian Carter, Emily Bell, Eric Racine & Wayne Hall (2011). Ethical Issues Raised by Proposals to Treat Addiction Using Deep Brain Stimulation. Neuroethics 4 (2):129-142.
    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been proposed as a potential treatment of drug addiction on the basis of its effects on drug self-administration in animals and on addictive behaviours in some humans treated with DBS for other psychiatric or neurological conditions. DBS is seen as a more reversible intervention than ablative neurosurgery but it is nonetheless a treatment that carries significant risks. A review of preclinical and clinical evidence for the use of DBS to treat addiction suggests that more animal (...)
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  49. Paolo Cattorini & Massimo Reichlin (1997). Persistent Vegetative State: A Presumption to Treat. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 18 (3).
    The article briefly analyzes the concept of a person, arguing that personhood does not coincide with the actual enjoyment of certain intellectual capacities, but is coextensive with the embodiment of a human individual. Since in PVS patients we can observe a human individual functioning as a whole, we must conclude that these patients are still human persons, even if in a condition of extreme impairment. It is then argued that some forms of minimal treatment may not be futile for these (...)
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  50. Gastone G. Celesia (1997). Persistent Vegetative State: Clinical and Ethical Issues. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 18 (3).
    Coma, vegetative state, lock-in syndrome and akinetic mutism are defined. Vegetative state is a state with no evidence of awareness of self or environment and showing cycles of sleep and wakefulness. PVS is an operational definition including time as a variable. PVS is a vegetative state that has endured or continued for at least one month. PVS can be diagnosed with a reasonable amount of medical certainty; however, the diagnosis of PVS must be kept separate from the outcome. The patient (...)
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