Neuroimaging refers to a
variety of noninvasive methods and technologies for brain scanning – such as
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – that allow us to observe the
operations of the human central nervous system. When used to study severe
neurological disorders, these techniques have enormous potential to identify
biological markers that indicate the first stages of an illness, when treatment
may be most effective. Neuroimaging has become a powerful tool for research, as
well as for medical diagnosis and even therapy. For example, in 2008 the US
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a treatment for depression via
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
Selected ethical issues:
of the individual’s privacy, autonomy, and freedom of thought / cognitive
of neuroimaging technologies to identify when an individual is not telling the
neuroimaging technologies to make assumptions regarding the mental fitness,
criminal liability, or guilt of individuals suspected of crimes.
- Use of
neuroimaging technologies by employers or marketers.