Article

Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation As A Therapeutic And Investigative Tool: An Ethical Appraisal

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Felipe Fregni, Megan S. Steven-Wheeler and Lachlan Forrow

in Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199570706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199570706.013.0109

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation As A Therapeutic And Investigative Tool: An Ethical Appraisal

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to validate the functional significance of neuroimaging studies in determining the causal relationship between focal brain activity and behavior. This article is concerned with the way in which modulation of brain activity by repetitive TMS (rTMS) can transiently change brain function and be utilized as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of a variety of neurological and psychiatric illnesses. The potential risks and appropriate precautions in the use of TMS are increasingly well established. New applications of TMS are being explored in normal subjects, and clinical treatment programs for TMS in various neuropsychiatric disorders are being launched. This article revisits the ethical considerations upon which one should reflect when applying non-invasive brain stimulation to humans. The combination of TMS with other neuroimaging and neurophysiologic techniques provides an enhanced understanding of the mechanisms of action of TMS and a novel approach to study functional connectivity between different areas in the human brain.

Keywords: transcranial magnetic stimulation; brain activity; neuropsychiatric disorders; ethical considerations; non-invasive brain stimulation

Article.  11224 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Clinical Psychology

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