In DepthNeuroscience

Brain implant trials raise ethical concerns

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Science  12 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6240, pp. 1186-1187
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6240.1186

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In recent decades, investigators have developed therapies for depression, Parkinson's disease, deafness, and other conditions that rely on electrodes sending signals into the brain. But moving from laboratory experiments to the clinic has been difficult. Last week, in a workshop at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, researchers focused on ways to remove some of the obstacles to developing new therapies using invasive neuromodulating devices, as well as the ethical and practical issues such devices raise. Two new rounds of grants from President Barack Obama's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative this summer aim to bridge the gap between promising preclinical studies with invasive brain devices and large human trials.