Are neuroscientists risking scientific integrity for funding?

    Are neuroscientists who finance their research through military grants
and the sales of brain-fitness software selling their souls? In a guest blog for Scientific American, John Horgan discusses his concerns over these latest funding trends in the neuroscience field.

    Horgan
notes that just a few years ago, neuroscientists were reluctant to
discuss their involvement in neuroweapons research, yet last year the
National Academy of Sciences published a report
highlighting the many opportunities for neuroscience to be used in army
applications. “Will the militarization of neuroscience really make the
world safer, or just trigger a new arms race?” Horgan asks.

    Disturbing
on another level is the growing prevalence of brain-fitness software
aimed at baby-boomers and touting benefits in learning and memory.
According to Horgan, the “neurobics” industry earned $265 million in
2008, despite the fact that the benefits derived from the software have
not been proven to be more powerful than simply playing cards with friends or taking a walk.

    Horgan
concludes with the question, “should [neuroscientists] adhere to higher
ethical standards than defense contractors and infomercial pitchmen?”

    –Ann L. Whitman

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