The literature on deep brain stimulation (DBS) and adaptive DBS (aDBS) raises concerns that these technologies may affect personality, mood, and behavior. We conducted semi-structured interviews with researchers (n = 23) involved in developing next-generation DBS systems, exploring their perspectives on ethics and policy topics including whether DBS/aDBS can cause such changes. The majority of researchers reported being aware of personality, mood, or behavioral (PMB) changes in recipients of DBS/aDBS. Researchers offered varying estimates of the frequency of PMB changes. A (...) smaller majority reported changes in personality specifically. Some expressed reservations about the scientific status of the term ‘personality,’ while others used it freely. Most researchers discussed negative PMB changes, but a majority said that DBS/aDBS can also result in positive changes. Several researchers viewed positive PMB changes as part of the therapeutic goal in psychiatric applications of DBS/aDBS. Finally, several discussed potential causes of PMB changes other than the device itself. (shrink)
Making data broadly accessible is essential to creating a medical information commons. Transparency about data-sharing practices can cultivate trust among prospective and existing MIC participants. We present an analysis of 34 initiatives sharing DNA-derived data based on public information. We describe data-sharing practices captured, including practices related to consent, privacy and security, data access, oversight, and participant engagement. Our results reveal that data-sharing initiatives have some distance to go in achieving transparency.
The expansion of research on deep brain stimulation (DBS) and adaptive DBS (aDBS) raises important neuroethics and policy questions related to data sharing. However, there has been little empirical research on the perspectives of experts developing these technologies. We conducted semi-structured, open-ended interviews with aDBS researchers regarding their data sharing practices and their perspectives on ethical and policy issues related to sharing. Researchers expressed support for and a commitment to sharing, with most saying that they were either sharing their data (...) or would share in the future and that doing so was important for advancing the field. However, those who are sharing reported a variety of sharing partners, suggesting heterogeneity in sharing practices and lack of the broad sharing that would reflect principles of open science. Researchers described several concerns and barriers related to sharing, including privacy and confidentiality, the usability of shared data by others, ownership and control of data (including potential commercialization), and limited resources for sharing. They also suggested potential solutions to these challenges, including additional safeguards to address privacy issues, standardization and transparency in analysis to address issues of data usability, professional norms and heightened cooperation to address issues of ownership and control, and streamlining of data transmission to address resource limitations. Researchers also offered a range of views on the sensitivity of neural activity data (NAD) and data related to mental health in the context of sharing. These findings are an important input to deliberations by researchers, policymakers, neuroethicists, and other stakeholders as they navigate ethics and policy questions related to aDBS research. (shrink)
Understanding the clinical significance of variants associated with hereditary cancer risk requires access to a pooled data resource or network of resources—a “cancer gene variant commons”—incorporating representative, well-characterized genetic data, metadata, and, for some purposes, pathways to case-level data. Several initiatives have invested significant resources into collecting and sharing cancer gene variant data, but further progress hinges on identifying and addressing unresolved policy issues. This commentary provides insights from a modified policy Delphi process involving experts from a range of stakeholder (...) groups involved in the data-sharing ecosystem. In particular, we describe policy issues and options generated by Delphi participants in five domains critical to the development of an effective cancer gene variant commons: incentives, financial sustainability, privacy and security, equity, and data quality. Our intention is to stimulate wider discussion and lay a foundation for further work evaluating policy options more in-depth and mapping them to those who have the power to bring about change. Addressing issues in these five domains will contribute to a cancer gene variant commons that supports better care for at-risk and affected patients, empowers patient communities, and advances research on hereditary cancers. (shrink)
Background As citizen science continues to grow in popularity, there remains disagreement about what terms should be used to describe citizen science activities and participants. The question of how to self-identify has important ethical, political, and practical implications to the extent that shared language reflects a common ethos and goals and shapes behavior. Biomedical citizen science in particular has come to be associated with terms that reflect its unique activities, concerns, and priorities. To date, however, there is scant evidence regarding (...) how biomedical citizen scientists prefer to describe themselves, their work, and the values that they attach to these terms.Methods In 2018, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 35 biomedical citizen scientists in connection with a larger study to understand ownership preferences. Interview data were analyzed to identify the terms that interviewees used and avoided to describe themselves and their work, as well as the reasons for their preferences.Results Biomedical citizen scientists self-identified using three main terms: citizen scientist, biohacker, and community scientist. However, there was a lack of consensus among interviewees on the appropriateness of each term, two of which prompted conflicting responses. Self-identification preferences were based on personal judgments about whether specific terms convey respect, are provocative, or are broad and inclusive, as well as the desirability of each of these messages.Conclusions The lack of consensus about self-identification preferences in biomedical citizen science reflects the diversity of experiences and goals of individuals participating in this field, as well as different perceptions of the values signaled by and implications of using each term. Heterogeneity of preferences also may signal the parallel development of multiple communities in biomedical citizen science. (shrink)
The capacity of next-generation closed-loop or adaptive deep brain stimulation devices to read and write shows great potential to effectively manage movement, seizure, and psychiatric disorders, and also raises the possibility of using aDBS to electively modulate mood, cognition, and prosociality. What separates aDBS from most neurotechnologies currently used for enhancement is that aDBS remains an invasive, surgically-implanted technology with a risk-benefit ratio significantly different when applied to diseased versus non-diseased individuals. Despite a large discourse about the ethics of enhancement, (...) no empirical studies yet examine perspectives on enhancement from within the aDBS research community. We interviewed 23 aDBS researchers about their attitudes toward expanding aDBS use for enhancement. A thematic content analysis revealed that researchers share ethical concerns related to safety and security; enhancement as unnecessary, unnatural or aberrant; and fairness, equality, and distributive justice. Most researchers felt that enhancement applications for DBS will eventually be technically feasible and that attempts to develop such applications for DBS are already happening. However, researchers unanimously felt that DBS ideally should not be considered for enhancement until researchers better understand brain target localization and functioning. While many researchers acknowledged controversies highlighted by scholars and ethicists, such as potential impacts on personhood, authenticity, autonomy and privacy, their ethical concerns reflect considerations of both gravity and perceived near-term likelihood. (shrink)