In Cerebrum’s June article, “Knowing Sin: Making Sure Good Science Doesn’t Go Bad,” bioethicist Henry T. Greely, J.D., of Stanford University, wrote, “The potential benefits from neuroscience are breathtaking, but so are some of the potential harms.” He described a recent meeting of neuroscientists, scholars, and clinicians who discussed the social, legal, ethical, and policy implications of advances in brain research. The discussion appears to have led quickly to concrete action, as this month formation of a new Neuroethics Society was announced.
The Society hopes to draw new people into neuroethics as well as support critical interaction and discussion through events, a newsletter, and dissemination of neuroethics research through partnerships with The American Journal of Bioethics and The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. I was interested to learn that several Neuroethics Society leaders, including Hank Greely, have been contributors to Cerebrum and to the Dana Foundation Series on Neuroethics. Moreover, the president of the new society is Steven E. Hyman, M.D., provost of Harvard University, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School., and also a Dana Foundation director.
Greely concluded his Cerebrum article by saying he believed it was not too late for neuroethics to help “maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of the revolution in brain science.” I think the new Neuroethics Society is an important step toward that goal.
— Cynthia A. Read