U.S. Panel Advocates for Ethics in Neuroscience Research

May 15, 2014

Ethical considerations should be deeply integrated into neuroscience research and education, a federal panel of bioethicists said in a new report released Wednesday.

The report was requested by President Obama last year after he launched a research initiative to better understand the human brain. The document lays out four recommendations: ethics should be integrated explicitly through all stages of neuroscience research; government agencies and other research funders should support research on ethics; ethics instruction should be integrated into all levels of science education; and advisory and review boards for the administration’s neuroscience research initiative should include people with ethical expertise.

“Because research on our brains strikes at the very core of who we are, the ethical stakes of neuroscience research could not be higher,” said Amy Gutmann, the University of Pennsylvania president who chairs the bioethics commission that produced the recommendations. “Too often in our nation’s past, ethical lapses in research have had tragic consequences and derailed scientific progress.”

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