Stimulating brains, altering minds
- Walter Glannon, Departments of Philosophy and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada;
- Received 7 October 2008
- Accepted 19 December 2008
Deep-brain stimulation has been used to treat advanced Parkinson disease and other neurological and psychiatric disorders that have not responded to other treatments. While deep-brain stimulation can modulate overactive or underactive regions of the brain and thereby improve motor function, it can also cause changes in a patient’s thought and personality. This paper discusses the trade-offs between the physiological benefit of this technique and the potential psychological harm.
Funding: The writing of the paper was supported in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, NNF 80045, States of Mind: Emerging Issues in Neuroethics.
Competing interests: None.
Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.