Electrodes in the brain: Some anthropological and ethical aspects of deep brain stimulation


  • Elizabeth Hildt




In the following text, medical, anthropological and ethical issues of deep brain stimulation, a medical technology in which electrodes implanted in the human brain electrically influence specified brain regions, will be discussed. After a brief account of the deep brain stimulation procedure and its chances and risks, anthropological and ethical aspects of the approach will be discussed. These relate to the reversibility of the procedure and to the patient?s capacity to control the effects it exerts in the brain, to modifications and fluctuations in a person?s character traits and individuality brought about by neurostim ulation, an d to the range of legitim ate, adequate uses of the deep brain stimulation approach. The paper concludes that deep brain stimulation should be confined to therapeutic contexts and to severe, otherwise treatment-refractory disorders in which the aim is to norm alize brain fun ctioning. A part from this, it sh ould not be used to m odify a person?s individ ual character traits and behaviour or to enhance human traits.




How to Cite

Hildt, Elizabeth. 2006. “Electrodes in the Brain: Some Anthropological and Ethical Aspects of Deep Brain Stimulation”. The International Review of Information Ethics 5 (September). Edmonton, Canada:33-38. https://doi.org/10.29173/irie193.