Unintended changes in cognition, mood, and behavior arising from cell-based interventions for neurological conditions: ethical challenges
Duggan, P. S.
Siegel, A. W.
Blass, David M.
Coyle, J. T.
Gearhart, J. D.
Greely, H. T.
Liao, S. M.
McDonald, J. W.
American Journal of Bioethics 2009 May; 9(5): 31-36
The prospect of using cell-based interventions (CBIs) to treat neurological conditions raises several important ethical and policy questions. In this target article, we focus on issues related to the unique constellation of traits that characterize CBIs targeted at the central nervous system. In particular, there is at least a theoretical prospect that these cells will alter the recipients' cognition, mood, and behavior-brain functions that are central to our concept of the self. The potential for such changes, although perhaps remote, is cause for concern and careful ethical analysis. Both to enable better informed consent in the future and as an end in itself, we argue that early human trials of CBIs for neurological conditions must monitor subjects for changes in cognition, mood, and behavior; further, we recommend concrete steps for that monitoring. Such steps will help better characterize the potential risks and benefits of CBIs as they are tested and potentially used for treatment.
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