Background: Patients undergoing invasive neurosurgical procedures offer researchers unique opportunities to study the brain. Deep brain stimulation patients, for example, may participate in research during the surgical implantation of the stimulator device. Although this research raises many ethical concerns, little attention has been paid to basic studies, which offer no therapeutic benefits, and the value of patient-participant perspectives.Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourteen individuals across two studies who participated in basic intraoperative research during their deep brain stimulator surgery. Interviews (...) explored interpretations of risks and benefits, enrollment motivations, and experiences of participating in awake brain research. Reflexive thematic analysis was conducted.Results: Seven themes were identified from participant narratives, including robust attitudes of trust, high valuations of basic science research, impacts of the surgical context, and mixed experiences of participation.Conclusion: We argue that these narratives raise the potential for a translational misconception and motivate intraoperative re-consent procedures. (shrink)
We estimate that 208,000 deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices have been implanted to address neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders worldwide. DBS Think Tank presenters pooled data and determined that DBS expanded in its scope and has been applied to multiple brain disorders in an effort to modulate neural circuitry. The DBS Think Tank was founded in 2012 providing a space where clinicians, engineers, researchers from industry and academia discuss current and emerging DBS technologies and logistical and ethical issues facing the field. (...) The emphasis is on cutting edge research and collaboration aimed to advance the DBS field. The Eighth Annual DBS Think Tank was held virtually on September 1 and 2, 2020 (Zoom Video Communications) due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting focused on advances in: (1) optogenetics as a tool for comprehending neurobiology of diseases and on optogenetically-inspired DBS, (2) cutting edge of emerging DBS technologies, (3) ethical issues affecting DBS research and access to care, (4) neuromodulatory approaches for depression, (5) advancing novel hardware, software and imaging methodologies, (6) use of neurophysiological signals in adaptive neurostimulation, and (7) use of more advanced technologies to improve DBS clinical outcomes. There were 178 attendees who participated in a DBS Think Tank survey, which revealed the expansion of DBS into several indications such as obesity, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and Alzheimer’s disease. This proceedings summarizes the advances discussed at the Eighth Annual DBS Think Tank. (shrink)
Motivated by exploitation concerns, we argue for the importance of participant engagement in basic human intracranial electrophysiology research. This research takes advantage of unique neurosurgical opportunities to better understand complex systems of the human brain, but it also exposes participants to additional risks without immediate therapeutic intent. We argue that understanding participant values and incorporating their perspectives into the research process may help determine whether and to what extent research practices and the resulting distributions of risks and benefits constitute exploitation (...) and contribute to building a brain research paradigm that is genuinely responsive to participant values. More broadly, we highlight the importance of paying attention to participant interests in non-therapeutic brain research. (shrink)
Leveraging firsthand experience, BRAIN-funded investigators conducting intracranial human neuroscience research propose two fundamental ethical commitments: (1) maintaining the integrity of clinical care and (2) ensuring voluntariness. Principles, practices, and uncertainties related to these commitments are offered for future investigation.