Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Brain-Implants Using Nano-Scale Materials and Techniques

Berger, Francois

Journal Information:
Vol. 2, Num. 3


The authors of this piece try to tackle the dual ethical issues of the morality of employing nanotechnology in biological research and the morality of ignoring what could be a life-altering science in favor or anxiety over possible consequences. The thrust of the paper is an attempt to raise sensitivity for the ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) involved in applying nanotechnology in brain implants or other devices by highlighting the short term problems of testing and clinical trials within the existing regulatory frameworks (A), the short and medium-term questions of risks in the application of the devices (B) and the long-term perspectives related to problems of enhancement (C). The best way to get at these issues would be not to rely on the government and regulatory agencies but to involve legal, ethical and social experts in the field from the inception of every pursuit, so as to ensure these exigencies are taken into account. Not only will this reduce the pressure on regulatory bodies to find a one-size-fits-all policy, but it would also improve relations with the public at large and with patients hoping to reap the benefits of the brain implants in question here.