CFA: Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications?

Symposium of interest: Deadline for submissions Feb 1, 2016.

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A symposium entitled “Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications?” will be held at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago on April 15-16, 2016. Researchers across disciplines who are interested in this question are asked to submit abstracts of 200-400 words by February 1st, 2016 to NormativeNeuroscience@gmail.com. More information regarding abstract submission can be found here and questions can be directed to symposium organizer Geoff Holtzman at NormativeNeuroscience@gmail.com.

For more information, please see here.

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The freedom to become an addict: The ethical implications of addiction vaccines

*This post was originally featured on The Neuroethics Blog.
by Tabitha Moses

Tabitha Moses, M.S., is Administrative and Research Coordinator at Lehman College, CUNY, as well as a Research Affiliate at the National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia. Tabitha earned her BA in Cognitive Science and Philosophy and MS in Biotechnology from The Johns Hopkins University. She has conducted research in the areas of addiction, mental illness, and emerging neurotechnologies. She hopes to continue her education through a joint MD/PhD in Neuroscience while maintaining a focus on neuroethics.

The introduction of “addiction vaccines” has brought with it a belief that we have the potential to cure addicts before they have ever even tried a drug. Proponents of addiction vaccines hold that they will:
  1. prevent children from becoming addicted to drugs in the future,
  2. allow addicts to easily and safely stop using drugs, and
  3. potentially lower the social and economic costs of addiction for society at large.
However, it is critical to be aware of the limitations and risks – both ethical and physical – of introducing these vaccines into mainstream medical care.

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*Editor’s note: This post was originally published on The Neuroethics Blog.

by Carolyn Plunkett

Carolyn Plunkett is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Philosophy Department at The Graduate Center of City University of New York. She is also an Ethics Fellow in The Bioethics Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a Research Associate in the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. Carolyn will defend her dissertation in spring 2016, and, beginning July 2016, will be a Rudin Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Divisions of Medical Ethics and Medical Humanities at NYU Langone Medical Center. 

This post is part of a series that recaps and offers perspectives on the conversations and debates that took place at the recent 2015 International Neuroethics Society meeting.

 

Karen Rommelfanger, founding editor of The Neuroethics Blog, heard a talk I gave on deep brain stimulation (DBS) at Brain Matters! 3 in 2012. Three years later, she heard a brief synopsis of a paper I presented a few weeks ago at the International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting. Afterward, she came up to me and said, “Wow! Your views have changed!” I had gone from being wary about using DBS in adults, much less minors, to defending its use in teens with anorexia nervosa. She asked me to write about this transition for this blog, and present my recent research.

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Meet-a-Member: Dr. Tomi Kushner

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Dear Friends:

I am a philosopher with a special interest in neuroethics. Until retirement, I served as Clinical Professor of Bioethics in the UCSF/Berkeley Joint Medical Program, teaching bioethics to medical students, other graduate students on the Berkeley campus, and supervising Masters and PhD theses in the School of Public Health. Described below are my current projects and I am happy to extend an invitation for you to join me.

Journals: As founding editor of the CQ, The Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, I’m proud to announce that 2016 marks the journal’s 25th anniversary. Of particular interest to you, will be CQ’s “Neuroethics Now” section that welcomes papers addressing the ethical application of neuroscience in research and patient care, as well as its impact on society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Join Us at International Neuroethics Society on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 @ 7:30 pm.

JOIN US FOR FOOD AND DRINK* (each person will be responsible for his/her bill).
• Date: Friday, October 16
• Time: 7:30pm until?
• Location: Potter’s, lobby level of Palmer House Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60603, Phone: 312.917.4933

*We will have small plates (in lieu of a sit down dinner) and drinks.
We will meet after the International Neuroethics Society poster reception. Potter’s is a 4 min walk from the INS Venue (Art Institute of Chicago).

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Meet-a-Member: Vanessa Bentley

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Editor’s note: Dr. Vanessa Bentley successfully defending on September 4, 2015. Congrats, Dr. Bentley!

Vanessa Bentley (formerly Gorley) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati. While in the doctoral program in Philosophy, she also completed a master’s in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research interests are in philosophy of science, philosophy of neuroscience, feminist epistemology, and neuroethics. Her interest in neuroethics has focused on neuroimaging research on sex/gender differences. Using two case studies in the neuroimaging of sex/gender differences, she has identified the many ways that the assumption of sex essentialism affects research and functions to limit scientific progress. Sex essentialism is the view that men and women are essentially different due to their sex. In addition to limiting scientific progress, research in the tradition of sex essentialism has been used to argue against women’s equal participation in society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tips for a Job Interview

Editor’s note: Laura successfully interviewed and will be starting a new position this fall. Congratulations, Laura!!

UnknownDr. Cabrera is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Core for Neuroethics where she has been conducting research to explore the attitudes of the general public toward enhancing interventions, as well as the normative implications of using neurotechnologies for non-medical purposes. She received a BSc in Electrical and Communication Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico City, an MA in Applied Ethics from Linköping University in Sweden, and a PhD in Applied Ethics from Charles Sturt University in Australia. Her career goal is to pursue interdisciplinary neuroethics scholarship, provide active leadership, and train and mentor future leaders in the field.

Email: laura.cabrera@singularityu.org

By Dr. Laura Y. Cabrera

I recently went through a job interview for a faculty position and wanted to share with the NEW Leaders community some strategies that work for me in preparing for it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hot off the presses! Ethical issues with direct-to-consumer neuroscience.

Ethical issues with Lumosity and other Direct-to-Consumer Brain Training
Games by NEW Leader, Dr. Karen Rommelfanger and her graduate student Ryan Purcell.

Article is open access here for the next 50 days until June 11, 2015.

“Internet brain training programs, where consumers serve as both subjects and funders of the research, represent the closest engagement many individuals have with neuroscience. Safeguards are needed to protect participants’ privacy and the evolving scientific enterprise of big data.”

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Meet-a-Member: Tamara Bonaci

Tamara BonaciTamara Bonaci is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, Department of Electrical Engineering. She is a member of the UW BioRobotics Lab and the UW Tech Policy Lab. Tamara’s research focuses on security and privacy of cyber-physical systems with humans in the loop. She is investigating privacy issues related to brain-computer interfaces, and security issues of teleoperated robots. On both of these projects, Tamara collaborates with an interdisciplinary team involving bioengineers, medical practitioners, legal scholars and philosophers.

A Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is a communication system between the brain and the physical environment. Recent experimental results show that electroencephalograms (EEG), obtained using consumer-grade BCIs, can be used to extract private information about users. This information can be exploited to infer about users’ memory, intentions, conscious and unconscious interests, as well as emotional reactions. Privacy issues arising from the misuse of BCIs thus represent an emerging problem.
In this project, Tamara and her collaborators propose that elements of a person’s electro-physiological signals can be used to extract private information about users. This hypothesis is being tested through a series of experiments involving human participants. The recorded neural and skeletal signals are being analyzed to identify which signal components can be used for data extraction, and to quantify exposure risk through information-theoretic metrics. Of particular interest are Event Related Potential (ERP) components of EEG signals, which are known to occur as a response to a variety of stimuli.

Tamara is also developing and validating a tool to enhance privacy of brain-computer interfaces, referred to as the BCI Anonymizer. The BCI Anonymizer is essentially a signal processing tool that decomposes users’ signals into a variety of components. By doing so, the BCI Anonymizer grants access to the information corresponding to users’ intended BCI messages while at the same time preventing anyone from accessing users’ private information.

Links:
Tamara’s personal website: http://www.tamarabonaci.com
BioRobotics Laboratory: http://brl.ee.washington.edu
Tech Policy Lab: http://techpolicylab.org
UW Society of Women Engineers: http://students.washington.edu/swe/

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Meet-a-Member: Dr. Jami Anderson

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Dr. Jami L Anderson is currently an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at University of Michigan-Flint. She primarily teaches courses in neuro- and medical ethics, disability studies, philosophy of medicine and philosophy of law. She is also the co-director of the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics.

 

Early in my career, I used Georg Hegel’s theory of right as a framework with which to address the problem of justifying state punishment in cases when individuals suffered extreme poverty and social alienation. Not surprisingly, my early publications directly addressed various problems within the literature that addresses Hegel’s theory of state punishment. However, a few years ago I developed a disability studies course and, not too surprisingly perhaps, my research interests moved into a new direction. I focused my attention on projects that examined social and legal policies that relied on problematic assumptions about disability identity.

I am currently completing a paper that addresses the question of whether or not learning impaired adults, in particular those with language impairments such as those experienced by some autistics, are capable of consenting (in the ethical as well as the legal sense) to sexual acts with other adults. Read the rest of this entry »

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