Archive for June, 2013

Needed: Objective measures of subjective well-being

This piece was contributed by Dr. Syd Johnson. Learn more about her here and here.

Disorders of consciousness (DOC), including the vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, and the minimally conscious state, have long fueled legal and ethical debate, and are also a source of considerable anguish for families forced to make life and death decisions on behalf of their loved ones. Particularly contentious are decisions concerning the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment for patients who have a poor prognosis for further recovery. Implicit assumptions about the value of life in a state of impaired consciousness often inform decisions, but persistently unanswered questions about the quality of life of persons with DOCs remain a source of uncertainty and distress. Yet, despite the importance of quality of life in end-of-life decision making, there are no validated methods for assessing quality of life in this population. A significant obstacle to doing so is the inability of these patients to communicate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet a Member: Dr. Syd Johnson

UnknownDr. Syd Johnson is a neuroethicist/bioethicist/philosopher at Michigan Technological University, where she teaches ethics and bioethics, and singlehandedly holds down the neuroethics fort in the snowy wilderness of northern Michigan. Prior to her appointment at Tech, she was a Research Fellow in Neuroethics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and received her PhD in philosophy from SUNY Albany. Her research interests are primarily in the ethical implications of brain injuries, especially those at opposite ends of the severity spectrum: mild TBI, specifically sport-related concussion, and disorders of consciousness. Syd has been a vocal advocate for radical, neuroprotective reforms in youth sports such as football and hockey, and thinks one of the important roles of bioethicists is to stir up debate about health-related issues of importance to the public. To that end, and despite her training as a philosopher, her interests in neuroethics tend towards real-world problems and concerns rather than metaphysical speculation. On the other hand, Syd really likes to think about zombies, and the ethical and metaphysical implications of the impending zombie apocalypse. Read the rest of this entry »



International Neuroethics Society Meeting on Nov 7-8, 2013 in San Diego!

The International Neuroethics Society announces its 5th Annual Meeting (a satellite of the Society for Neuroscience Meeting) November 7 & 8 San Diego.

Abstracts are due June 15, 2013.  For more information and the program see here.

Listen to INS Member Molly Crockett cordially invite you here.

Bring your friends and family to the open-to-the-public program November 7 on Neurogaming: What’s Neuroscience and Ethics Got to Do with It?

Register for the meeting on November 8 here.

The speaker lineup includes Barbara Sahakian & John Pickard, University of Cambridge, Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford, Patricia Churchland, University of California-San Diego, Molly Crockett, University of Zurich, Jens Clausen, University of Tubingen, Lisa Claydon, Bristol Law School, University of the West England, Joe Fins & Niko Schiff, Weill Cornell Medical College, Holly Moore, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Mauricio Delgado, Rutgers University, Catherine Sebastian, Royal Holloway, University of London, J. David Jentsch, University of California – Los Angeles, and Honorable Robert Trentacosta, Presiding Judge of San Diego Superior Court.

See you in San Diego!

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