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IEEE Pulse. 2013 Jan-Feb;4(1):28-32. doi: 10.1109/MPUL.2012.2228810.

Clinical ethical concerns in the implantation of brain-machine interfaces: part I: overview, target populations, and alternatives.

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Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Recently, implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) for the severely disabled have generated a great deal of excitement in the biomedical community, and clinical trials investigating their use as communication aids have already begun in the United States (these trials are discussed in the "Existing Devices and Trials" section). While the hypothetical societal implications of such devices are often discussed, the relative risks and benefits associated with their clinical use, as well as the alternative options available to patients, are not always part of this discussion. This article therefore seeks to outline the associated ethical concerns of the devices, the user populations for which the devices are intended, and existing noninvasive alternatives.

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