Chapter

The Neuroscience of Cruelty as Brain Damage: Legal Framings of Capacity and Ethical Issues in the Neurorehabilitation of Motor Neurone Disease and Behavioural Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

Robin Mackenzie and Mohamed Sakel

in Law and Neuroscience

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599844
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725227 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599844.003.0015

Series: Current Legal Issues

The Neuroscience of Cruelty as Brain Damage: Legal Framings of Capacity and Ethical Issues in the Neurorehabilitation of Motor Neurone Disease and Behavioural Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

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This chapter explores some ethical and legal issues arising from the impact of the neuroscience of decision-making and emotion on end-of-life decisions of patients with certain neurodegenerative disorders. It suggests that the current means of assessing capacity to make decisions over medical treatment should be read as measuring emotional as well as cognitive factors; that the ethics of clinician/carer relations should be monitored carefully to minimize conflicts of interest and exploitation; and that behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) exemplifies certain difficulties arising with advance decisions to refuse treatment (ADRTs) that must be resolved.

Keywords: neuroscience; decision-making; end-of-life decisions; neurodegenerative disorders; medical treatment

Chapter.  12335 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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