Electrodes in the brain-Ethical criteria for research and treatment with deep brain stimulation for neuropsychiatric disorders

Matthis Synofzik, Thomas E. Schlaepfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used for neuropsychiatric disorders in clinical and research settings for almost 50 years now. Recent evidence demonstrates some efficacy in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depression in patients refractory to other treatment modalities beyond single case reports. This has led to a considerable surge of clinical and commercial interest in DBS for psychiatric indications. Because of the high vulnerability of psychiatric patients, the lack of extensive short- and long-term data about effectiveness and the rapid spread of questionable indications this new field in psychiatry requires ethical criteria that can be applied to both research and clinical decision-making. Objective and Methods: We here present an evidence-based systematic ethical analysis of psychiatric DBS using the criteria of beneficence, nonmaleficence, and autonomy. Results and Conclusions: The proposed criteria are helpful in analyzing empirical evidence, informing research investigations and guiding clinical decision-making. This will prepare the ground for ethically justified, empirically comprehensive DBS in this highly vulnerable population and allow stringent future societal discussions about its legitimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Stimulation
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • deep brain stimulation
  • major depression
  • neuroethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology

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