How relationships matter: The need for closer attention to relationality in neuroethical studies

Marion Boulicault*, Timothy Emmanuel Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract / Description of output

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)—a neurosurgical procedure in which electrodes are used to stimulate regions of the brain—is being investigated as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Lawrence and colleagues (Citation2019) note that this experimental therapy is the subject of controversy within neuroethics. In particular, they reference worries that depressive patients’ beliefs and decisions concerning DBS may be compromised. They highlight possibilities that patients may be unable to cogently evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of DBS; may make decisions out of desperation; or may, due to media portrayal, have inflated hopes about the effectiveness of DBS (Lawrence et al. Citation2019). In evaluating these ethical concerns, the authors also consider the possibility that patients’ beliefs and decision-making processes may be affected by relational vulnerabilities, that is, vulnerabilities arising from the effects of patients’ interpersonal relationships (Lawrence et al. Citation2019).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-237
Number of pages3
JournalThe American Journal of Bioethics
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2019

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