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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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Ethical dilemmas in neurodegenerative disease: respecting patients at the twilight of agency

Ethical dilemmas in neurodegenerative disease: respecting patients at the twilight of agency

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 7 Ethical dilemmas in neurodegenerative disease: respecting patients at the twilight of agency
Source:
Neuroethics
Author(s):

Agnieszka Jaworska

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567219.003.0007

This chapter presents a case study that illustrates the interplay between ethical conceptual analysis and neuroscientific findings in the resolution of moral dilemmas that arise in Alzheimer's disease. It defends the philosophical view that the immediate interests of an individual cannot be overridden as long as the individual possesses the capacity to value. In the context of each particular neurodegenerative disease, this recommendation must be guided by a scientifically informed assessment of when in the course of the disease the capacity to value could possibly be lost, and when it is likely to be retained. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, neuroscientific evidence indicates that the capacity to value is slowly and gradually weakened, and in some cases may not be completely lost until relatively far along in the disease's progression. Similar neuroethical analyses must be carried out for other diseases and disorders, and will probably yield different results.

Keywords:   Alzheimer's disease, dementia, neuroscience, ethics, autonomy, decision making

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