Project: Psychiatric Neurosurgery – Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues

Acronym PNS
Duration 01/04/2016 - 31/03/2019
Project Topic The objective of the international collaboration project is the comprehensive investigation of ethical, legal, and societal issues of the whole field of contemporary psychiatric neurosurgery (PNS) using both normative and empirical methods. Although medical ethicists have broadly investigated deep brain stimulation (DBS), there is a neglect in ethics with regard to ablative PNS comprising thermal or radiofrequency ablation procedures, and radiosurgery (Gamma Knife). Therefore, we will investigate the whole field of PNS. We will also evaluate emerging techniques, e.g., optogenetics and closed-loop systems that measure continuously brain activity and initiate counter-measures as soon as suspicious arousal is detected. We will particularly focus on possible applications of PNS in forensic contexts. First, we will investigate ethical issues of the whole field of PNS. Second, we will analyze the recent legislation including International Law concerning PNS. Third, we investigate how the international media report about PNS. Fourth, we will investigate empirically ethical issues of PNS, in particular the decision-making of patients, and experiences of patients, including personality changes and social adaptation problems. We will consider PNS within its broader societal and economic context. Finally, we will work out recommendations for a justifiable development of psychiatric neurosurgery based on the ethical, legal, societal and clinical research results of our collaboration.
Call Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects (ELSA) of Neuroscience

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin Coordinator Germany
2 Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn Partner Germany
3 University of British Columbia Partner Canada
4 Hospital Ruber Internacional Partner Spain