Abstract and Keywords
This article discusses ethical questions in neurosurgery as falling into two categories, namely those surrounding what neurosurgeons are currently doing, i.e. their current practices, and those surrounding what neurosurgeons will, theoretically, be capable of doing in the future, i.e. their future practices. It reveals the current and emerging applications of functional neurosurgery as well as the future controversies that will stem from them. It focuses on psychosurgery, enhancement (cognitive and physical) and the brain–machine interface (BMI), in order to illustrate the pertinent ethical challenges and the role of the neurosurgeon in helping to address them. These three applications represent natural extensions of each other, as an exploration of the underlying mechanisms of psychopathology will ultimately provide insight into normal brain function. Concerns about the future of implantable technology, and the neurosurgeon's role in installing it, need to be addressed.
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