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Surg Neurol Int. 2014 Oct 7;5:146. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.142323. eCollection 2014.

The road being paved to neuroethics: A path leading to bioethics or to neuroscience medical ethics?

Author information

  • 1Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery (ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.), Mercer University School of Medicine; President, www.haciendapub.com , Macon, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

In 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama decreed the creation of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, as part of his $100 million Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. In the wake of the work of this Commission, the purpose, goals, possible shortcomings, and even dangers are discussed, and the possible impact it may have upon neuroscience ethics (Neuroethics) both in clinical practice as well as scientific research. Concerns were expressed that government involvement in bioethics may have unforeseen and possibly dangerous repercussions to neuroscience in particular and to medicine in general. The author emphasizes that the lessons of history chronicle that wherever governments have sought to alter medical ethics and control medical care, the results have frequently been perverse and disastrous, as in the examples of the communist Soviet Union and National Socialist (Nazi) Germany. The Soviet psychiatrists' and the Nazi doctors' dark descent into ghastly experimentation and brutality was a product of convoluted ethics and physicians willingly cooperating with authoritarianism citing utilitarianism in the pursuit of the 'collective' or 'greater good.' Thus in the 20(th) century, as governments infringed on the medical profession, even the Liberal Democracies have not been immune to the corruption of ethics in science and medicine.

KEYWORDS:

Bioethics; medical ethics; morality; neuroethics; neuroscience; scientific research

PMID:
25324975
PMCID:
PMC4199184
DOI:
10.4103/2152-7806.142323
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