Some ethics of deep brain stimulation

In Dan Stein & Ilina Singh (eds.), Global Mental Health and Neuroethics. London, UK: pp. 117-132 (2020)
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Abstract
Case reports about patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for various motor and psychiatric disorders - including Parkinson’s Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Treatment Resistant Depression - have sparked a vast literature in neuroethics. Questions about whether and how DBS changes the self have been at the fore. The present chapter brings these neuroethical debates into conversation with recent research in moral psychology. We begin in Section 1 by reviewing the recent clinical literature on DBS. In Section 2, we consider whether DBS poses a threat to personal identity. In Section 3 we argue for engagement with recent empirical work examining judgements of when identity changes. We conclude in Section 4 by highlighting a range of ethical issues raised by DBS, including various cross-cultural considerations.
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