Revision as of 16:28, 3 September 2013 by AlexBates (Talk | contribs)


The Conversation

On TED conversations, an engagement part of a site renown for spreading innovative ideas, we posed the question ‘Should the neuronal environment of the brain be genetically modified to treat some forms of neurodegeneration?’ Specifically, we wanted to know if users thought it ethical for scientists to use genetic treatments which involve introducing new genes into native cells and injecting them into the brain for the benefit of patients; how much external intervention into the brain they deemed appropriate; to what degree resources ought to be spent on such an ethically grey area. The responses were used, along with the responses from our speed debate, to inform and help shape the direction of our Neuroethics Speed Debate and our feasibility reports. They also helped to lead to the conception of ‘Eternal Sunshine’ as a good entry point for the public into our ideas, by emphasising the gravity of Alzheimer’s disease.

Snippets From The Debate

Here are some excerpts from thee discussion:

“...we must be careful not to "replace" anything in the brain unless we can be sure that it won't CHANGE THE PERSON'S THINKING PROCESS COMPLETELY”

“Side effects and complications may cause problems, potentially fatally so, but the long term benefit outstrips the risk--we couldn't advance medical science without it.”

“...on a fundamental level, it has no more ethical limitations than say, a new drug or surgical procedure that requires further testing.”

“As long as the researcher is fully honest and open with the people he is working with, I see no ethical problems at all with brain research or genetic modification research.”

“It is the nature of medical research that not all of the risks can be quantified.”

“What is unethical today becomes ethical tomorrow. It happened time and again in the human history. The speed of innovation has always been faster then the evolution of morality and ethics in society.”

You can follow the debate here.