Neuroscience – blog.Bioethics.gov https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog The blog of the 2009 - 2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues Mon, 09 Jan 2017 23:23:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Looking Back at the Bioethics Commission’s Blog https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/12/05/looking-back-at-the-bioethics-commissions-blog/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/12/05/looking-back-at-the-bioethics-commissions-blog/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:00:04 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2125 Throughout its tenure, the Bioethics Commission has maintained an active digital presence to connect with a global audience. A major component of this has been through its blog. This final blog post reflects on the role the blog has played in disseminating the Bioethics Commission’s work.first-blog

Former Bioethics Commission Executive Director Valerie Bonham launched the commission’s blog on November 15, 2010, announcing that the staff would be liveblogging during Meeting Three in Atlanta. From that meeting onward, Bioethics Commission staff continued to blog live from the Bioethics Commission’s meetings, held throughout the country in cities including Washington DC, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. Meeting posts highlighted salient points of discussion as they occurred during the public meetings. For example, during Meeting Three, a blog post outlined the members’ deliberations regarding the risks and benefits of synthetic biology. During Meeting Eighteen, which focused on ethical issues in neuroscience, a blog post highlighted some of the discussion about the ethical challenges in neuroscience research. The Bioethics Commission also used blog posts to distill complex topics that arose during meetings. During Meeting Twelve, which focused on pediatric medical countermeasure research, a blog post presented a simplified structure of some of the federal regulations concerning pediatric research.

The commission’s blog also highlighted and explained the impact of the commission’s work. For example, during the commission’s tenure, a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the Common Rule—the regulations that govern the ethical conduct of federally supported human subjects research—was published in the Federal Register on September 8, 2015. Elements of the commission’s work were included in this notice. In September and October 2015, the Bioethics Commission released a series of blog posts that described some of the relevant inclusions in the NPRM, and explained their significance.

The Bioethics Commission also used the blog to share its outreach activities and initiatives with a broad readership. For example, when Bioethics Commission staff attended the annual meeting of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities in October 2015, a blog post highlighted the commission’s outreach efforts, and included answers to frequently asked questions that staff members fielded while at the conference. When the Bioethics Commission presented at the White House BRAIN conference, a blog post shared Executive Director Lisa M. Lee’s remarks. On June 8, 2016, Col. Nelson Michael gave an interview with the bioethics news site BioEdge, and the Bioethics Commission staff wrote a two-part blog post on some of the issues Col. Michael raised regarding democratic deliberation and ethics education. Blog posts were also written to describe publications in academic journals by Commission members and staff. A blog post shared a commentary written by Bioethics Commission Vice Ch
air Dr. James Wagner, who wrote about the importance of early ethics education.

During its tenure, the Bioethics Commission produced over 65 educational materials, and used the blog to picture1announce the availability of new educational materials, including user guides, primers, classroom discussion guides, and deliberative scenarios. Blog posts also helped outline how to use the educational materials. Blog posts also highlighted topics including innovations in ethics education, and the importance of civic engagement. The Bioethics Commission also used the blog to announce and promote its podcast series Ethically Sound, a 10-episode series that focuses on some of the ethical issues raised in the commission’s reports.
Readers can access previous blog posts, educational materials, the podcast series Ethically Sound, along with all of the Bioethics Commission’s reports and related materials at bioethics.gov. On behalf of the Bioethics Commission, we thank our readers for their continued interest in the work of the commission.

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Ethically Sound Episode 10: Charting a Path Forward https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/21/ethically-sound-episode-10-charting-a-path-forward/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/21/ethically-sound-episode-10-charting-a-path-forward/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 16:00:01 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2052 The tenth and final episode of the Bioethics Commission’s podcast series, Ethically Sound, is now available. Today’s episode, “Charting a Path previewscreensnapz001Forward,” focuses on the Bioethics Commission’s two most recent public meetings, during which the Bioethics Commission reflected on the impact of past, present, and future of national bioethics advisory bodies.

Since the 1970s, the U.S. has had a succession of national advisory bodies to provide Congress or the President with expert advice on topics related to bioethics. Other countries also benefit from advisory bodies that provide advice about bioethi
cal issues. During its twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth public meetings, the Bioethics Commission heard
from members of past bioethics advisory bodies, representatives of international bioethics bodies, as well as officials who have been advised by such bodies.

The podcast opens with a narrative from Alex Capron, Professor of Law and Medicine at the University of Southern California. Mr. Capron chaired the Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee from 1987 to 1990, and served on President William J. Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Body from 1996 to 2001. Mr. Capron presented before the commission during Meeting 26, and reflected on his experiences with both of these advisory bodies. In the podcast, Mr. Capron recounts a challenging experience he faced while describing the disciplinary backgrounds of bioethics advisory body staff to policymakers unfamiliar with the interdisciplinary nature of bioethics.

The podcast also includes an interview with Bioethics Commission member Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Kilbride-Clinton Chair in Medicine and Ethics at the University of Chicago. The interview was conducted by Hillary Wicai Viers, a former Communications Director with the Bioethics Commission staff. Dr. Sulmasy discussed the importance of looking to past commissions, the legacy of the current Bioethics Commission, and the pressing ethical issues that we could face in the future. Regarding the importance of looking to past bioethics commissions, Dr. Sulmasy said “The past is applicable because many of the most basic ethical questions are perennial. We may encounter new problems, but the most fundamental questions about human finitude, the meaning of human progress, the role of balancing relief of suffering versus other ethical principles, questions of cost, and justice are always with us.”

Episode 10, and all of the other Ethically Sound episodes, is now available on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes pages. Listeners can follow the podcast using #EthicallySound or by following us on Twitter @bioethicsgov. Stay tuned for our upcoming educational resource, a set of discussion questions to accompany the Ethically Sound series that can be used in a classroom or seminar setting. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

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Ethically Sound Episode 6: New Directions https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/10/17/ethically-sound-episode-6-new-directions/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/10/17/ethically-sound-episode-6-new-directions/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:00:43 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2012 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues bioethics_twitter-v3-08(Bioethics Commission) has
released the sixth episode, “New Directions“, in its new
podcast series Ethically Sound.  This podcast series is dedicated to bringing the Bioethics Commission’s body of work to a broad audience. The Bioethics Commission, established in 2009 by President Bara
ck Obama, has produced 10 reports, each of which focuses on key ethical considerations surrounding a particular topic. Today’s episode is based on the Bioethics Commission’s first report, New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies.

New Directions was written in response to a charge from President Obama, after the announcement that researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute had created the world’s first self-replicating synthetic genome in a bacterial cell. This news resulted in intense media coverage and hyped claims about the implications of this research. President Obama asked the Bioethics Commission to review the developing field of synthetic biology and to identify appropriate ethical boundaries that would both maximize public benefits and minimize risks. The Bioethics Commission considered a diverse range of perspectives on the direction and implications of synthetic biology throughout its public deliberations. Taking into consideration both the tremendous promise and the potential risks that could arise from developments in synthetic biology, the commission put forth 18 recommendations that outline important ethical considerations for synthetic biology. The recommendations include a call for increased federal oversight of research in synthetic biology, and a recommendation for incorporating ethics training for researchers in fields such as engineering and materials science, who might become involved in synthetic biology research.

The podcast opens with a narrative from Eleonore Pauwels, Senior Program Associate within the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Ms. Pauwels shared her reaction to the announcement from the Venter Institute, and her perspective on how ethical issues would need to be addressed in this emerging technology. She said, “Today we still face an unresolved question: How do we develop a culture of inclusive public deliberation and decision-making that could guide integration of synthetic biology and all new technologies into society?”

The podcast also includes an interview with the Vice Chair of the Bioethics Commission and former President of Emory University, Dr. James Wagner. Hillary Wicai Viers, former Communications Director with the Bioethics Commission staff, conducted the interview. Dr. Wagner discussed the relevance of the commission’s report for current and future developments in synthetic biology, and how this first report set the tone for the rest of the commission’s body of work. Dr. Wagner noted that the ethical principles established in this report were foundational to subsequent projects, as well. He said, “We found ourselves in subsequent reports also recommending that there needs to be greater education in the area of bioethics, and education of our public to understand the current state of the art. We found ourselves coming back to those [ethical principles] over and over again in subsequent works that we did, whether it was work in neuroscience or work in genome sequencing.”

Episode 6 is now available on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes pages. In addition to this episode, listeners can access the first five episodes of Ethically Sound. Listeners can follow the podcast using the hashtag #EthicallySound or by following us on Twitter @bioethicsgov. Stay tuned for the seventh episode in our series, “Moral Science,” which will be available on October 24, 2016. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

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Ethically Sound Episode 5: Gray Matters https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/10/10/ethically-sound-episode-5/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/10/10/ethically-sound-episode-5/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 14:00:14 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1937 The fifth episode of the Bioethics Commission’s podcast series Ethically Sound, “Gray Matters,” is now available. The Bioethics Commission has released 10 reports on a variety of ethically challenging topics. Ethical issues in neuroscience were the focus of the reports Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Volume 1), and Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Volume 2).

The two Gray Matters reports responded to a charge from President Barack Obama, in conjunction with the announcement of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a White House Grand Challenge. President Obama asked the Commission to “consider the potential implications of the discoveries that we expect will flow from studies of the brain.” In Gray Matters Volume 1, the Bioethics Commission recommended early and explicit integration of ethics into neuroscience research. In Gray Matters Volume 2, the Commission focused on three “cauldrons of controversy” in neuroscience: cognitive enhancement, research involving participants with impaired consent capacity, and the use of neuroscience in the legal system.

This episode of Ethically Sound opens with a narrative from Dr. Stephen Morse, Associate Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Morse discussed a case where neuroscience was used as the basis of an insanity defense in a murder trial, as the defendant had a cyst in his left frontal lobe that the defendant’s legal counsel argued had impaired his judgment. When discussing the two positions taken by the prosecution and the defense, Dr. Morse said, “The defense took the position that the prosecution was afraid of the expert evidence having to do with the brain tumor.”

The podcast also features Bioethics Commission member Dr. Stephan Hauser, Director of the University of California, San Francisco Weill Institute for Neurosciences, and Chair of the Department of Neurology. Hillary Wicai Viers, former Communications Director with the Bioethics Commission staff, conducted the interview. Dr. Hauser discussed the array of ethical challenges that the Bioethics Commission addressed in its reports, including the importance of integrating ethics into all stages of neuroscience research. Dr. Hauser said, “Well-designed, ethical neuroscience research will pave the way for progress that has the potential to benefit so many [people].”

Episode 5 is now on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes pages. In addition to this episode, listeners can access the first four episodes “Safeguarding Children,” “Ethics and Ebola,” “Anticipate and Communicate,”and “Privacy and Progress.” Listeners can follow the podcast using #EthicallySound or by following us on Twitter @bioethicsgov. Stay tuned for the sixth episode in our series, “New Directions,” which will be available on October 17, 2016. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

 

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Introducing New Primer Series: Spotting and Responding to Hype https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/08/03/introducing-new-primer-series-spotting-and-responding-to-hype/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/08/03/introducing-new-primer-series-spotting-and-responding-to-hype/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 12:00:28 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1890 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released a new series of primers on spotting and responding to science hype in the media. The three primers cover hype related to topics in new technology, public health and neuroscience. The primers introduce hype about scientific topics in the media, and provide users with ways to spot hype and evaluate scientific claims in media outlets. The primers draw on topics covered in three of the Commission’s reports: New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies, Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response, and Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.

The primers are designed to help members of the public spot and respond to hyped claims in the media, which can often distort, exaggerate or misrepresent scientific information. The primers note that hype is generated from numerous sources, including scientists, communication and public relations professionals, and journalists. Each primer provides users with steps to spot hype as well as respond to hype when they counter such claims in news stories and blog posts. The primers also include examples of hyped claims that were found in news outlets.

The Commission has discussed hype in a number of its reports. In New Directions, the Commission recommended that individuals and deliberative forums should use clear language when communicating scientific information and avoid “sensationalist buzzwords” when describing topics in synthetic biology. The Commission also called for a private organization to fact-check claims that discuss advances in synthetic biology. In Ethics and Ebola, the Commission recommended that governments and public health organizations use the best available scientific evidence to inform decisions about using liberty-restricting measures (e.g., quarantines) and avoid bending to public pressure to inappropriately implement such measures. In Gray Matters, the Commission recommended that neuroscientists, attorneys, judges and members of the media avoid using or engaging with hype in relation to using neuroscience in the courtroom, noting that justice is threatened when unfounded neuroscience is used to make decisions in a courtroom.

This set of primers is the most recent addition to our “Conversation Series” collections of primers. Interested individuals can access our other “Conversation Series,” which discusses discussing incidental findings for consumers, research participants and patients. Users can also find informational primers about incidental findings and consent capacity.

Please stay tuned for information about forthcoming educational materials, including a classroom discussion guide and a deliberative scenario about incidental findings based on the Commission’s report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts.

All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available for download at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials at education@bioethics.gov.

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The History of Bioethics Series – National Bioethics Commissions https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/01/27/the-history-of-bioethics-series-national-bioethics-commissions/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/01/27/the-history-of-bioethics-series-national-bioethics-commissions/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2016 16:33:35 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1783 This is the first post in our “History of Bioethics” series in which we will examine some of the seminal events that shaped the landscape of bioethics and its practice in the world today. This first blog will focus on the creation of the national bioethics advisory bodies in the United States and their different iterations throughout the years.

From our History of Bioethics Commissions page…

The current advisory group, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, established by a 2009 Executive Order from President Barack Obama, continues the more than 40-year history of bodies established by the President or Congress to provide expert advice on topics related to bioethics. These groups have differed in their composition, methods, and areas of focus, yet they all have shared share a common goal – to promote the careful examination and analysis of ethical considerations that underlie our nation’s activities in science, medicine, and technology.

The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1974-78) is generally viewed as the first national bioethics commission. Established as part of the 1974 National Research Act, the National Commission is best known for the development of the Belmont Report, a document that laid out the ethical principles and guidelines for research involving human subjects. This document has been used as a basis for further federal regulations in the area of human subjects protections.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1978-83), also established by Congress, produced reports on foregoing life-sustaining treatment and access to health care, among other topics. Its 1981 report Defining Death was the basis of the Uniform Determination of Death Act, a model law that was enacted by most U.S. states.

The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (1994-95) was created by President Bill Clinton to investigate human radiation experiments conducted from 1944 -1974 as well as radiation intentionally released into the environment for research purposes. The committee considered the ethical and scientific standards for evaluating these events and provided recommendations aimed at ensuring that similar events could not be repeated.

Since the mid-1990s, each of the past three presidents has established bioethics commissions to explore ethical issues in science, medicine, and technology. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission (1996-2001), created by President Clinton, examined topics including cloning, human stem cell research, and research involving human subjects. President George W. Bush established the President’s Council on Bioethics (2001-2009), which issued reports on stem cell research, human enhancement, and reproductive technologies, among other topics.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues was established in November 2009 and is chaired by Dr. Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania and renowned political philosopher and educator. The Bioethics Commission has dealt with topics ranging from neuroscience, to Ebola, to whole genome sequencing, and more. All of the Bioethics Commission’s reports can be viewed and downloaded for free at Bioethics.gov. A major point of emphasis for the current Bioethics Commission is to educate and inform the nation about bioethics. So far, in its tenure, the Bioethics Commission has created and disseminated materials for a variety of audiences in traditional and non-traditional educational settings. To date over fifty education materials have been developed and are disseminated freely through the website.

Stay tuned to this blog for upcoming posts on the “History of Bioethics”!

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Bioethics Deliberation and Education in Gray Matters https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/10/21/bioethics-deliberation-and-education-in-gray-matters/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/10/21/bioethics-deliberation-and-education-in-gray-matters/#respond Wed, 21 Oct 2015 17:42:27 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1734 In last week’s continuation of our “Deliberation and Education” series, we discussed the role of deliberation and education in the recommendations issued by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) in its sixth report: Anticipate and Communicate. This week’s post will examine deliberation and education in the Bioethics Commission’s Gray Matters reports.

As part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative announced in April 2013, President Obama asked the Bioethics Commission to review the ethical issues associated with the conduct and application of neuroscience research advances. Gray Matters is a two volume Commission report on neuroscience and ethics.

In Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 1), released in May 2014, the Bioethics Commission focused on the importance of integrating ethics and neuroscience early and explicitly throughout the research endeavor, and called for funding for ethics. In Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2), released in March 2015, the Commission focused its analysis on three particularly controversial topics that illustrate the ethical tensions and societal implications of advancing neuroscience and technology.

In Gray Matters, Vol. 1, the Bioethics Commission made four recommendations focused on integrating ethics and neuroscience research. In its third recommendation, the Commission directly recommended education as a part of this integration:

Government agencies and other research funders should initiate and support research that develops innovative models and evaluates existing and new models for integrating ethics and science through education at all levels.

During its deliberations, the Bioethics Commission heard from a number of scientists and educators who emphasized the importance of ensuring that researchers understand the role of ethics in good science. The Commission concluded that ethics and science education should be integrated across the curriculum at all levels, not just in graduate school, in order to create a strong, lasting foundation.

In Gray Matters, Vol. 2, the Bioethics Commission focused its analysis on three topics: cognitive enhancement, consent capacity, and neuroscience and the legal system. The Commission made 14 recommendations to guide the ethical progress of neuroscience research and its applications; the recommendations are divided by topic area and including one concluding recommendation. The Commission included education in its tenth recommendation, under neuroscience and the legal system:

Government bodies and professional organizations, including legal societies and nonprofit organizations, should develop, expand, and promote training resources, primers, and other educational tools that explain the application of neuroscience to the legal system for distribution to members of the public, jurors, judges, attorneys, and others.

In addition, education was also included in the Bioethics Commission’s final, overarching recommendation:

The BRAIN Initiative should establish and fund organized, independent, multidisciplinary efforts to support neuroscience and ethics research and education, including the activities recommended in this report.

Education plays a central role in both volumes of Gray Matters. By providing ethics education and information on the advances of neuroscience, we can ensure that ethical neuroscientific advances continue while avoiding hype and misinformation in a rapidly evolving field.

Both volumes of Gray Matters and all other Bioethics Commission reports are available at bioethics.gov.

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Capacity, Consent, and Progress: Recommendations from the Bioethics Commission https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/07/29/capacity-consent-and-progress-recommendations-from-the-bioethics-commission/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/07/29/capacity-consent-and-progress-recommendations-from-the-bioethics-commission/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:48:26 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1680 (This post also appears on PRIM&R’s Amp&rsand blog)

Earlier this year, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) released the second part of its report on neuroscience and ethics—Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2). The report examines in depth several controversial topics that bring ethical issues to the fore, including cognitive enhancement, neuroscience and the law, and the ethical conduct of research with participants with impaired capacity for informed consent.

The challenge of impaired consent capacity has been a perennial issue in research ethics for decades yet it is nonetheless well-placed in a report about contemporary neuroscience. Neuroscientists commonly study the very diseases that can cause impairments in decision-making capacity, making informed consent difficult or impossible. These include head trauma, stroke, dementia, schizophrenia, and major depression, among others. Neuroscience research can promote progress towards understanding and alleviating these conditions, but that progress requires the participation of persons affected. Informed consent is a central tenet of research ethics and, in its absence—when working with participants whose capacity is impaired—researchers and IRBs need clear guidelines for whether and how to proceed ethically.

It is vital to find ways whenever possible to ethically and responsibly include individuals with impaired consent capacity in research, but researchers must also vigilantly protect participants from exploitation and abuse. In addition, researchers must guard against and mitigate stigma and harmful assumptions about individuals based on diagnoses or impaired consent capacity.

With all of this in mind, Gray Matters, Vol. 2 explains the long and complex history of national bodies crafting guidance about impaired consent capacity, describes the current regulatory framework to protect participants, and elucidates additional protections that can be employed when consent capacity is impaired or in question. These additional protections include using improved assessment techniques, respecting assent and dissent, engaging independent consent monitors, limiting acceptable levels of risk, requiring legally authorized representatives, honoring research advance directives, and ensuring meaningful stakeholder engagement. The Bioethics Commission made four recommendations in this area, emphasizing responsible inclusion, and calling for clearer requirements for identifying legally authorized representatives to provide permission on behalf of participants when consent capacity is impaired.

As a part of its continued efforts to distribute its findings and recommendations to relevant stakeholders, the Bioethics Commission has developed educational materials to accompany its reports. Included among the Gray Matters educational material is a primer for researchers on neuroscience and consent capacity. Researchers can use the primer to aid ethical decision making and ensure that they have considered and implemented appropriate safeguards. All of the Bioethics Commission’s materials are free and available at http://education.

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Bioethics Commission Recommends Multidisciplinary Efforts to Support Neuroscience and Ethics Research and Education https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/07/01/bioethics-commission-recommends-multidisciplinary-efforts-to-support-neuroscience-and-ethics-research-and-education/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/07/01/bioethics-commission-recommends-multidisciplinary-efforts-to-support-neuroscience-and-ethics-research-and-education/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:35:42 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1662 On March 26 the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) released the second volume of its two-volume report on neuroscience and ethics, Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2), which takes an in-depth look at three topics that have captured the public’s attention: neural modification, including cognitive enhancement, consent capacity, and neuroscience and the legal system.

In Gray Matters, Vol. 2 the Bioethics Commission calls for research on several critical topics to help address unresolved empirical scientific and policy questions. Research requires support in the form of funding, personnel, and other resources. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, as a White House Grand Challenge, is well positioned to establish and support efforts to bring together multidisciplinary expertise to advance research and education at the intersection of neuroscience, ethics, and society. The Bioethics Commission recommended that:

The BRAIN Initiative should establish and fund organized, independent, multidisciplinary efforts to support neuroscience and ethics research and education, including the activities recommended in this report.

Organized, independent, multidisciplinary efforts would provide necessary infrastructure to address ethics integration, education, and research. They also should support the development and dissemination of educational tools including training materials and guidance, among others, for various audiences to facilitate informed public debate.

The Bioethics Commission acknowledged several examples of how such efforts could be structured, and encouraged the architects of the new BRAIN Initiative supported efforts to look to these examples to discern the best approach.

Gray Matters, Vol. 2 and all other Bioethics Commission reports are available at Bioethics.gov.

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New Primer for Researchers on Neuroscience and Consent Capacity Now Available https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/06/24/new-primer-for-researchers-on-neuroscience-and-consent-capacity-now-available/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/06/24/new-primer-for-researchers-on-neuroscience-and-consent-capacity-now-available/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:20:35 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1659 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has posted to Bioethics.gov a new educational primer: this primer provides researchers with information on neuroscience and consent capacity. The module accompanies the Bioethics Commission’s two-volume report Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 1) and Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2).

The primer on neuroscience and consent capacity was designed to help researchers, especially those working in neuroscience, understand and implement the Bioethics Commission’s recommendations about responsibly including individuals with potentially impaired consent capacity in their studies. The primer will aid ethical decision making and help researchers consider and implement appropriate ethical safeguards throughout their work.

The primer consists of frequently asked questions, which help researchers understand whether they should include participants with impaired consent capacity in their studies, and how to do so ethically. It includes an explanation of the ethical considerations involved in enrolling such participants, catalogues relevant laws and regulations, and describes potential safeguards that could help protect participants. The primer directs researchers to the Gray Matters report for further in-depth reading about the topics covered in it.

In addition to this primer, other educational materials have been posted to accompany the Bioethics Commission’s work. Several other primers have been developed to accompany the Bioethics Commission’s 2014 report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings. The goal of the primer series is to provide concise, understandable materials for researchers, clinicians, and other health care professionals looking to implement some of the Bioethics Commission’s recommendations in particular contexts.

All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials at education@bioethics.gov.

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