- An open-access collection of new articles, called “Neuroethics and Developing Brain Technology,” has been published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.
- The series addresses real, timely, and challenging ethical questions in neuroscience research and clinical care.
- The Foundation prioritizes ethical issues to keep them at the forefront of the focused ultrasound community.
In April 2021, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the Pan-Canadian Neurotechnology Ethics Consortium (PCNEC) organized and held a 90-minute webinar on neuroethics for novel brain technologies. The goal of the online seminar was to describe how scientific progress in the advancement of neurotechnologies – from preclinical experimentation to real-world treatments – creates ethical questions of readiness, equitable patient access, and legal and intellectual property rights.
Now, an open-access collection of new articles, called “Neuroethics and Developing Brain Technology,” has been published in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Science. Edited by Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD, Patrick McDonald, MD, and Judy Illes, PhD, (who led our 2021 webinar) the series addresses real, timely, and challenging ethical questions in neuroscience research and clinical care.
The unique and insightful collection includes the following articles:
- Considering Ethics and Neuromodulation Together by Helen Mayberg and Judy Illes
- Charting the Neuroethics Landscape for Neuromodulation in Canada and Beyond by Nir Lipsman and Patrick McDonald
- Emerging Neurotechnologies: Implications for Professional Relations and Communication by Hrishikesh Suresh, Nebras M. Warsi, Tejas Sankar, and George M. Ibrahim
- Interventional Psychiatry and Neurotechnologies: Education and Ethics Training by Peter Giacobbe, Amer M. Burhan, Robyn Waxman, and Enoch Ng
- Mapping the Landscape of Equitable Access to Advanced Neurotechnologies in Canada by Louise Harding, Jacob McFarlane, Christopher R. Honey, Patrick J. McDonald, and Judy Illes
- Neuromodulation and Opioid Use Disorder: Ethical Opportunities for Canada by Quinn Boyle, and Judy Illes
- Placebo Effects and Neuromodulation: Ethical Considerations and Recommendations by Adriano Mollica, Rachel Greben, Marieve Cyr, Jay A. Olson, and Matthew J. Burke
- Antitrust as a Guardrail for Socially Responsible Neurotechnology Design by Roland Nadler
“Each fascinating conversation from the neuroethics for emerging brain technologies webinar is covered in these articles,” said Suzanne LeBlang, MD, the Foundation’s Director of Clinical Relationships, who moderated its panel discussion. “The journal series extends the themes to cover additional topics, with a special focus on neuromodulation. Continued advancements in modulating brain activity with either incisionless procedures, such as focused ultrasound, or invasive procedures, such as deep brain stimulation, all involve complex ethical considerations from patient consent to intended use. It is critical to continue these conversations in open forums to create a pathway toward safe and ethical clinical adoption.”
The journal supplement was sponsored by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, the Sunnybrook Research Institute Centre of Excellence Fund, and the Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation. Dr. Jane Stewart created the original art piece, “Timeless,” on the cover of the journal.
As part of its mission to overcome the numerous technological, economic, regulatory, and reimbursement obstacles related to the development of focused ultrasound as a noninvasive, life-saving therapeutic technology, the Foundation intends to keep ethical issues at the forefront of the community conversation.