Treatment, enhancement, and the ethics of neurotherapeutics

Brain Cogn. 2002 Dec;50(3):387-95. doi: 10.1016/s0278-2626(02)00534-1.


Emerging neurotechnologies, including psychopharmaceuticals, brain stimulation, implantable brain chips, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and brain imaging raise a number of ethical questions. One of the most contentious is the proper role of these technologies in improving or increasing mental and neurological traits and skills in those with no identifiable pathology. The "enhancement" debate centers around a number of concerns and philosophical approaches to the proper role of medicine, therapeutics, and desirable human qualities. Arguements for and against neurological enhancement are reviewed, and historical and social perspectives are offered.

MeSH terms

  • Bioethics*
  • Brain Diseases / therapy*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Drug Therapy / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology


  • Psychotropic Drugs