April 12, 2005 Discussion of New Brain Technologies To Be Held on May 10

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Elizabeth Sherman (202) 707-0235
Contact: Request ADA accommodations in advance at (202) 707-6362

William Safire, New York Times columnist and chairman of the Dana Foundation, will moderate a discussion on "Hard Science, Hard Choices: Facts, Ethics and Policies Guiding Brain Science Today" at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 10, in LJ 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

Participants in the program are Michael S. Gazzaniga, director of the Center for Neuroscience at Dartmouth College and author of "The Ethical Brain" (2005), and Stanford University law professor Hank Greely, who has written extensively on bioethical issues and the law. Gazzaniga will outline the current state of neuroscience and point out ethical questions raised by recent advances and new technologies in this field. Greely will focus on some of the legal and policy issues associated with increased understanding of the human brain.

Some of the questions they may address include:

  • What can new brain technologies do?
  • Do they offer a reliable new way to tell truth from lies?
  • If technology gives scientists the ability to read human emotions or thoughts, is it appropriate to do so?
  • What is the appropriate ethical course when doctors have the means to predict mental or behavioral problems that have no cure?
  • Is it right to use technology, genetic therapy or drugs to lift mood, suppress pain or boost intelligence?
  • What is the distinction between "cosmetic" and "therapeutic" in the use of mood and brain enhancing drugs?

The event is sponsored by the Library of Congress Office of Scholarly Programs, the Dana Foundation, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the National Institute of Mental Health.


PR 05-088
ISSN 0731-3527