Ethical Guidance for the Use of Deep Brain Stimulation in Psychiatric Trials and Emerging Uses: Review and Reflections

  • Emily BellEmail author
  • Eric Racine


Research has suggested novel promising opportunities for deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat the disabling symptoms of some severe psychiatric patients. Accordingly, researchers and practitioners in the fields of neurosurgery, psychiatry, and bioethics have been attentive to the possible ethical challenges for research and care in this field. In fact, in addition to a range of scholarly work discussing the potential ethical concerns in psychiatric DBS, some of these articles provide explicit ethical guidance intended to direct ethical practice in research and care. This chapter reviews what is contained in the current international explicit ethical guidance on psychiatric DBS, identifying shared ethical themes of the guidance, and providing examples of how the guidance addresses these ethical challenges. On the basis of the content of the explicit ethical guidance, we reflect on the need for specific ethical guidance in psychiatric DBS, discuss whether there are issues that are overrepresented or underrepresented in the guidance, and suggest how current ethical guidance can be translated into practice by researchers and clinicians by providing a model for the cycle of generation and implementation of evidence-based ethics.


Psychiatric Disorder Deep Brain Stimulation Ethical Challenge Current Guidance Ethical Guidance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroethics Research Unit, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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