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Handb Clin Neurol. 2013;116:313-25. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53497-2.00026-7.

Ethics guidance for neurological and psychiatric deep brain stimulation.

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  • 1Neuroethics Research Unit, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), Montréal, Canada; McGill University, Montréal, Canada.


The consideration of ethical and social issues related to current uses of deep brain stimulation (DBS) as well as investigational uses should now be an integral part of contemporary DBS practice. Scholarship, interdisciplinary work groups, and peer processes have helped articulate standards that need to be respected and implemented in current DBS practice. Integrating new knowledge and interdisciplinary ethical perspectives could be considered a sign of the maturity and rigor of a DBS program. Still, investigational uses of DBS carry tremendous hope but also touch on sensitive and thorny ethical questions. These questions can benefit from the ethical wisdom generated for standard uses of DBS but also challenge current practices and professional conduct. Realizing this, interdisciplinary expert groups have been convened to identify and flesh out ethical guideposts for cutting-edge research in DBS. By implementing these ethical frameworks, DBS is an opportunity to develop promising treatments for a set of vulnerable and sometimes underserved patients while keeping their best interests in sight.

© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


deep brain stimulation; ethics; guidelines; neuroethics; neurology; psychiatry

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