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NeuroethicsDefining the issues in theory, practice, and policy$
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Judy Illes

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567219.001.0001

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation and the human brain: an ethical evaluation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation and the human brain: an ethical evaluation

(p.201) Chapter 14 Transcranial magnetic stimulation and the human brain: an ethical evaluation

Megan S. Steven

Alvaro Pascual-Leone

Oxford University Press

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a neuroscientific technique that induces an electric current in the brain via application of a localized magnetic field pulse. The pulse penetrates the scalp and skull non-invasively and, depending on the parameters of stimulation, facilitates or depresses the local neuronal response with effects that can be transient or long lasting. While the mechanisms by which TMS acts remain largely unknown, the behavioral effects of the stimulation are reproducible and, in some cases, are highly beneficial. This chapter reviews the technique in detail and discusses safety as the paramount ethics issue for TMS. It further examines the ethical arguments for and against neuroenhancement with TMS and how the framework for acceptable practice must differ for patient and non-patient populations.

Keywords:   TMS, neuroscience, brain stimulation, ethics

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