A Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE)-funded research study exploring ethical implications of brain-computer interfaces used in conjunction with closed-loop brain stimulation has been published in Taylor & Francis’ Brain-Computer Interfaces journal.
“Brain-computer interface-based control of closed-loop brain stimulation: attitudes and ethical considerations” was co-authored by Eran Klein, Sara Goering, Josh Gagne, Conor V. Shea, Rachel Franklin, Samuel Zorowitz, Darin D. Dougherty and Alik S. Widge. The article describes in detail this qualitative study of 15 test subjects implanted with Deep-Brain Stimulation (DBS) for depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
Individuals at MGH were interviewed for their perspectives about closed-loop or next-generation DBS devices, given their experience with open-loop DBS. The study uncovered four major themes characterizing test subjects’ attitudes toward next-generation DBS: control over device function, authentic self, relationship effects and meaningful consent. The article presents subject feedback within the framework of these themes and asserts that these attitudes about closed-loop DBS can help inform future development of psychiatric DBS research.
Besides the article, another direct outgrowth of this research work was a very successful symposium on closed-loop DBS, facilitated by Eran Klein (pictured) at the recent North American Neuromodulation Society Neural Interfaces Conference.