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Hard Science, Hard Choices: Facts, Ethics, and Policies Guiding Brain Science Today

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Overview

Advances in neuroscience research are rapidly bringing new and complex issues to the forefront of medical and social ethics, and scholars from diverse fields have been coming together to debate the issues at stake. Acclaimed science writer Sandra Ackerman witnessed one such gathering, and here she skillfully synthesizes those proceedings into a concise presentation of the challenges that neuroscience and neuroethics currently face. 

Top scholars and scientists in neuroscience and ethics convened at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in May 2005. They included Michael Gazzaniga, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College; Marcus Raichle of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Harvard University provost Steven Hyman; Judy Illes, cofounder of the Stanford Brain Research Center; University of Virginia bioethicist Jonathan Moreno; Stacey Tovino of the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center; and Stanford law professor Hank Greely.  

Ackerman weaves the invigorating arguments and discussions among these and other prominent scholars into a seamless and dynamic narrative. She reveals the wide array of issues that have emerged from recent research, including brain imaging, free will and personal responsibility, disease diagnosis and prediction, brain enhancement, and the potential social, political, and legal ramifications of new discoveries. Translating these complex arguments into an engrossing account of neuroethics, she offers a rare view of science—and ethics—in the making.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sandra Ackerman is a science journalist and the author of Discovering the Brain.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Overview
What we can learn from a chimera 5
Enhancement, for better or worse 7
Neuroimaging and the law 10
Neuroscreening and predictions 12
Too much help? 16
Neuroscience and morality 17
Imminent prospects and responsibilities 20
Pt. 2 Neuroimaging
The power of an image 25
What are we seeing? 27
Brain privacy 29
False memories 31
There and not there 35
Who is conscious? 37
Qualities of consciousness 40
Decision-making circuits 45
Moral decision making in the human brain 48
Pt. 3 Drugs in the brain
Starting with safety 57
Psychiatric drugs for children 60
Unfair advantage in a pill? 62
What is worth treating? 67
How genes interact with drugs 68
Therapy versus enhancement 73
Dual-purpose research 78
What can we do and what should we do? 80
Pt. 4 Neurotechnology
A new age of neurotechnology 89
Deep brain stimulation for movement disorders 93
How deep brain stimulation works 96
Deep brain stimulation for depression 98
Ethical and practical concerns of deep brain stimulation 100
The brain-computer interface 103
Ethics of neurosurgery 108
Business considerations 112
The therapy-enhancement distinction 113
The role of the neuroethicist 115
Hard science, hard choices : a public discussion of neuroscience, ethics, and law 121
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