Brain Policy: How the New Neuroscience Will Change Our Lives and Our Politics

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Georgetown University Press, Feb 1, 1999 - Medical - 208 pages
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Neural grafting, virtual reality, gene therapy, psychotropic drugs ... As startling new treatments emerge for disorders of the brain, new concerns are arising along with them. In the first book to examine the implications of the full range of revolutionary interventions now possible in the human brain, Robert H. Blank warns that while these new techniques may promise medical wonders, they also raise profound political questions.

Our rapidly unfolding knowledge about the brain and the accompanying applications have three main policy dimensions: funding research initiatives, controlling individual use, and assessing social consequences. But underlying these aspects, Blank argues, are more disturbing issues that pose fundamental challenges to our conceptions of equality, autonomy, freedom, responsibility, and human nature itself.

Brain Policy makes the key facts from the technical literature readily accessible to social scientists and general readers and points out the implications for our society. Blank first explains the structure and function of the nervous system and current theories of brain operation; he then assesses the uses and potential abuses of various intervention techniques. He identifies the public policy issues raised by discoveries in the neurosciences and calls for intensified scrutiny of the advantages and disadvantages of new technologies.

Warning that the risks and dangers of the dramatic developments in neuroscience are potentially large, Blank offers a means of understanding these scientific advances and the philosophical and political issues they entail. This book will be of interest to social scientists, policy analysts, policy makers, bioethicists, scientists who want to see the bigger picture, and the informed reader with an interest in the implications of neuroscience for themselves and society.

 

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Contents

SEXUAL DIFFERENCES AND THE BRAIN
91
FREE WILL AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY
99
CONCLUSIONS
103
Brain Intervention Techniques
105
DRUGS AND THE BRAIN
112
VIRTUAL REALITY AND THE BRAIN
121
POLICY ISSUES ON BRAIN INTERVENTION
124
CONCLUSIONS
130

THE FOLLOWING CHAPTERS
20
The Brain Structure Development and Death
23
NEURAL COMMUNICATION
29
THE DEVELOPING BRAIN
32
IMAGING TECHNIQUES
34
THE BRAIN DEATH CONTROVERSY
36
CONCLUSIONS
43
The Brain the Mind and Consciousness
44
THE MODULAR BRAIN
45
MEMORY AND REASON
48
THE COMPUTER ANALOGY
50
THE END OF DUALISM?
53
POLICY IMPLICATIONS
60
Genetics and the Brain
62
THE GENETICSBRAIN CONNECTION
63
GENETIC RESEARCH AND THE BRAIN
65
POLICY ISSUES IN GENETICS AND THE BRAIN
72
CONCLUSIONS
78
The Brain and Behavior
80
THE BRAIN AND VIOLENCE
82
THE BRAIN AND ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR
85
Neural Grafting
132
THE POLICY CONTEXT
138
THE FETAL TISSUE TRANSPLANTATION CONTROVERSY
142
POLICY ISSUES UNIQUE TO FETAL TISSUE TRANSPLANTATION
144
GENERIC ISSUES APPLIED TO NEURAL GRAFTING
147
EXTENSIONS OF NEURAL GRAFTING
150
Neurotoxicity
152
EFFECTS OF NEUROTOXINS
155
THE FETUS IN THE WORKPLACE
158
NEUROTOXICITY AND HEALTH
165
Conclusions The Emergence of Brain Policy
168
THE BRAIN AND HEALTH POLICY
169
PREVENTING ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE TO THE BRAIN
170
HEALTH OUTCOMES IMPACT STATEMENTS
171
THE POLITICS OF NEUROSCIENCE
172
THE BRAIN AND SOCIETY
175
Court Cases
177
Bibliography
179
Index
193
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About the author (1999)

Robert H. Blank is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Among his many books are Human Reproduction, Emerging Technologies and Conflicting Rights, coauthored with Janna Merrick (Congressional Quarterly Press, 1995) and The Price of Life: The Future of American Health Care (Columbia University Press, 1997).

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