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What’s special about the ethical challenges of studying disorders with altered brain activity?

Cassaday, Helen J.

Authors

HELEN CASSADAY HELEN.CASSADAY@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience



Contributors

Grace Lee
Editor

Judy Illes
Editor

Frauke Ohl
Editor

Abstract

Where there is no viable alternative, studies of neuronal activity are conducted on animals. The use of animals, particularly for invasive studies of the brain, raises a number of ethical issues. Practical or normative ethics are enforced by legislation, in relation to the dominant welfare guidelines developed in the UK and elsewhere. Guidelines have typically been devised to cover all areas of biomedical research using animals in general, and thus lack any specific focus on neuroscience studies at the level of the ethics, although details of the specific welfare recommendations are different for invasive studies of the brain. Ethically there is no necessary distinction between neuroscience and other biomedical research in that the brain is a final common path for suffering, irrespective of whether this involves any direct experience of pain. One exception arises in the case of in vitro studies, which are normally considered as an acceptable replacement for in vivo studies. However, to the extent sentience is possible, maintaining central nervous system tissue outside the body naturally raises ethical questions. Perhaps the most intractable challenge to the ethical use of animals in order to model neuronal disorder is presented by the logical impasse in the argument that the animal is similar enough to justify the validity of the experimental model, but sufficiently different in sentience and capacity for suffering, for the necessary experimental procedures to be permissible.

Citation

Cassaday, H. J. What’s special about the ethical challenges of studying disorders with altered brain activity?. In J. Illes, G. Lee, & F. Ohl (Eds.), Ethical issues in behavioral neuroscienceSpringer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/7854_2014_333

Deposit Date Sep 27, 2014
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Issue 19
Series Title Current topics in behavioral neuroscience
Book Title Ethical issues in behavioral neuroscience
ISBN 9783662448656
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/7854_2014_333
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3600
Publisher URL http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F7854_2014_333
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/7854_2014_333

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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