Conversations About Ethics

Events Archive


Including communities in promoting mental health in ways that honor principles of self-determination, benefit, justice and equity

America Bracho, MD, MPH

Drawing from America Bracho's experience at Latina Health Access, people are experts in their lives, and we are obligated to creating mechanisms for them to help themselves and help others. Ethical principles of respect, inclusion and self-determination are at the core of these views.

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When Memory Deceives: Current and emerging trends in memory manipulation

Joseph LeDoux

We depend on memory in daily life. It allows us to use the past to help inform the present and future. Yet, memory is based on change. This is both its virtue and its vice.

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The Making and Unmaking of Memories: Beneficial uses and ethical implications of memory manipulation

Joseph LeDoux

For decades, researchers thought once a memory was established, it remained fixed that way forever. In fact, recent studies have shown memory to be far more malleable than that. When we recall a memory, it is prone to modification. Earlier this year, psychologists discovered that the power of imagination can modify harmful memories. They suggest that therapists can help patients create a context in which to modify the emotional content of memories to edit the past. But what are the implications of this memory manipulation?

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Is My Mind Mine? Neuroscience, Privacy and the Self

Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D

For the first time in human history, we are developing the ability to apprehend information directly from the brain. Brain imaging and allied technologies now allow scientists a glimpse into the subjective thoughts and inner dialogues that have always been private and inaccessible to others. By doing so, they are forever changing the very idea of privacy, raising thorny questions about who should have access to our innermost thoughts. In this talk, we explore the implications of brain imaging not only for personal privacy, but also for legal questions such as Fifth Amendment protections.

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Neurotheology, Neuroscience, and the Religious Sensibility

Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D

With the advent of implantable brain chips, neural tissue transplants, brain-computer interfaces, and psychopharmaceutical advances, human beings will soon be able to micromanage their moods, enhance cognitive and affective skills and traits, “mind-read” through brain scanning, and replace brain functions with brain prostheses. Brain imaging may soon be able to apprehend subjective thoughts; new technologies or pharmaceuticals may be able to give others greater control of our thoughts or feelings; and neurologically designed lie detectors may reduce our ability to deceive others, including those in oppressive regimes. At the same time, the new field of “neurotheology” is examining how religious experience manifests in the brain, and is trying to challenge some of our understandings of the religious impulse itself.

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Genomic Medicine – What Do You Really Want To Know About Your Genome?

James P. Evans, M.D., Ph.D.

Rapidly evolving technology has made sequencing of an individual’s entire genome a practical reality, leading to visions of a time when each person's genome will be sequenced, guiding health and medical decisions over a lifetime. However just how useful such information may prove to be remains in question. Many health practitioners feel ill equipped to address genomic medicine with patients. Clinical researchers, too, are wrestling with novel medical, legal and ethical questions presented by this new frontier. Adding to the challenge, genetic information involves not just individual patients but entire families, and considering the needs of all is a challenge for our medical system. This important "Conversations About Ethics" gives physicians and clinical researchers an overview of the current landscape in genomic medicine, a framework for incorporating new information and aims to help sort “hype” from reality regarding the promise of genomic medicine.

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Families and the New Era of Genetics: Clinical and Ethical Challenges 2

John S. Rolland, M.D., M.P.H.

Groundbreaking advances in genomics are identifying genetic components in most major health and mental health conditions. This poses unprecedented clinical and ethical dilemmas for families and healthcare professionals. Genetic information is by definition a family issue that will affect everyone as this technology continues to move into mainstream healthcare.

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