Neuroethics 11 (2):143-155 (2018)

IntroductionTourette Syndrome is a childhood onset disorder characterized by vocal and motor tics and often remits spontaneously during adolescence. For treatment refractory patients, Deep Brain Stimulation may be considered.Methods and ResultsWe discuss ethical problems encountered in two adolescent TS patients treated with DBS and systematically review the literature on the topic. Following surgery one patient experienced side effects without sufficient therapeutic effects and the stimulator was turned off. After a second series of behavioural treatment, he experienced a tic reduction of more than 50%. The second patient went through a period of behavioural disturbances that interfered with optimal programming, but eventually experienced a 70% tic reduction. Sixteen DBS surgeries in adolescent TS patients have been reported, none of which pays attention to ethical aspects.DiscussionSpecific ethical issues arise in adolescent TS patients undergoing DBS relating both to clinical practice as well as to research. Attention should be paid to selecting patients fairly, thorough examination and weighing of risks and benefits, protecting the health of children and adolescents receiving DBS, special issues concerning patient’s autonomy, and the normative impact of quality of life. In research, registration of all TS cases in a central database covering a range of standardized information will facilitate further development of DBS for this indication.ConclusionClinical practice should be accompanied by ongoing ethical reflection, preferably covering not only theoretical thought but providing also insights in the views and perspectives of those concerned, that is patients, family members and professionals.
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DOI 10.1007/s12152-018-9359-6
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Ethical Examination of Deep Brain Stimulation’s ‘Last Resort’ Status.Ian Stevens & Frederic Gilbert - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2020-106609.

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