The blog of the 2009 – 2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Bioethics Commission Requests Comment on the Ethical Considerations of Neuroscience Research and the Application of Neuroscience Research Findings

On January 31, 2014 the Federal Register published a request for public comment on behalf of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission). The Bioethics Commission seeks to collect information from a wide range of stakeholders on ethical issues related to neuroscience. The comments collected will help inform the Bioethics Commission’s response to President Obama’s request to “identify proactively a set of core ethical standards—both to guide neuroscience research and to address some of the ethical dilemmas that may be raised by the application of neuroscience research findings.”

The Bioethics Commission is a Federal Advisory Committee of the nation’s leaders in medicine, science, ethics, religion, law, and engineering. The Bioethics Commission amasses much of the information for its reports by holding quarterly public meetings, receiving input from subject matter experts, reaching out to stakeholders, and gathering written public comment. By submitting written comment, the public has the opportunity to provide input that could inform the Bioethics Commission’s reports and the recommendations it makes to the Administration.

To address the President’s most recent charge, the Bioethics Commission is now particularly interested in receiving public commentary regarding:

• the diversity and scope of ethical considerations related to neuroscience as a field;
• core ethical standards that guide neuroscience research, including consistency (or lack thereof) across disciplines, and potential tension among the guiding standards;
• advances in neuroscience research that raise novel ethical issues or heighten existing ethical tensions;
• whether emphasis on particular aspects of the Common Rule (or other research ethics regulations) is needed given the particular implications of some neuroscience research or whether any part of the Common Rule needs clarification in order to adequately protect participants in neuroscience research specifically;
• potential implications of discoveries that might flow from studies of the brain and questions that might arise from neuroscience research findings and their applications, including questions about the potential implications for privacy, personal agency, and moral responsibility for one’s actions; stigmatization and discrimination; and the appropriate use of neuroscience in the justice system;
• strategies for integrating ethical considerations into neuroscience research, technological development, and scientific research from a project’s inception; and
• ethical considerations concerning communication about neuroscience research and neuroscience research applications by scientists, journalists, and others.

Individuals, groups, and organizations interested in commenting on the ethical considerations of neuroscience research and the application of neuroscience research findings can submit comments by e-mail to or by mail to the following address:

Public Commentary
Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
1425 New York Ave., NW
Suite C–100
Washington, DC 20005

Comments will be publicly available, including any personally identifiable or confidential business information that they contain. Trade secrets should not be submitted.

To ensure consideration, comments must be received by April 1, 2014. Comments received after this date will be considered only as time permits.

The Bioethics Commission looks forward to receiving your comments.

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This is a space for the members and staff of the 2009 -2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to communicate with the public about the work of the commission and to discuss important issues in bioethics.

As of January 15th, 2017 this blog will no longer be updated but continues to be available as an archive of the work of the 2009-2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

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