For decades people have nipped a wrinkle here, reduced a nose size there or paid for help boosting test scores. With this history of paying to improve our bodies and minds, why not extend that liberty to memory-improving drugs or brain-enhancing implants?
These and other questions being raised by modern neuroscience were the topic of a meeting of neuroscientists, ethicists and psychologists funded by the National Science Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences. The group, led by Judy Illes, senior research scholar in biomedical ethics and in radiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will publish their thoughts in the April 20 online issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience. The article will also appear in the May print issue of the journal. The group’s goals were to outline both the ethical issues raised by modern neuroscience and the steps scientists should take, if any.