Human clinical trials are becoming an increasingly important part of the fast-changing field of implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) research. Testing to help determine safety and efficacy in the human body is the next step in the development of clinical BCI devices for treatment of neurologic conditions like stroke, spinal cord injury and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because testing implantable BCIs in humans can sometimes have serious and/or unexpected impacts, developing a better understanding of risks and establishing best practices in this area of research is an ethical imperative.
In this blog and by sharing our stories, we aim to ENGAGE students, researchers and the public, and ENABLE people who have disabilities.
Nona Clifton: Pre-College Education Manager
Imagine being asked to solve a problem for someone who you've never met. You have the necessary skills, you've been given a detailed overview of the issues at-hand, and you understand what's at stake; however, you never have actually met anybody with the problem you're trying to solve. Given enough time and information, you might come up with an effective means of solving the problem, but it would be very difficult to anticipate all of the potential impacts of your solution.
Neural engineering is a cutting-edge field that draws students from diverse backgrounds such as bioengineering, biochemistry, electrical engineering and applied math. One of the challenges inherent in the cross-disciplinary nature of this new and emerging academic domain is providing necessary education and training in the biological sciences to students from computational backgrounds such as engineering or applied math.
"What is a Neuroethics Roundtable?" you may ask. Simply put, it's a gathering of those who are actively engaged in the fields of neuroscience, neurosurgery and neural engineering to discuss, collaborate, and increase awareness and understanding of the ethical aspects of their work. The Roundtable is a place of commonality, providing a shared space for attendees to connect neuroethics to their own areas of expertise in science, medicine or research. Presentations given at the Roundtable inform attendees about what research the CSNE neuroethicists are working on, provide an opportunity to discuss current research in progress, and encourage reflection on how neuroethics can positively impact practical, day-to-day realities.