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Supplementary Material for: Electrical and Magnetic Neuromodulation Technologies and Brain-Computer Interfaces: Ethical Considerations for enhancement of brain function in healthy people – a systematic scoping review

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posted on 2024-06-11, 13:57 authored by Ploesser M., Abraham M.E., Broekman M.L.D., Zincke M.T., Beach C.A., Urban N.B., Ben-Haim S.
Introduction: This scoping review aims to synthesize the fragmented evidence on ethical concerns related to the use of electrical and magnetic neuromodulation technologies, as well as Brain-Computer Interfaces for enhancing brain function in healthy individuals, addressing the gaps in understanding spurred by rapid technological advancements and ongoing ethical debates. Methods: The following databases and interfaces were queried: Medline (via PubMed), Web of Science, Phil Papers and Google Scholar. Additional references were identified via bibliographies of included citations. References included experimental studies, reviews, opinion papers, and letters to editors published in peer-reviewed journals that explored the ethical implications of electrical and magnetic neuromodulation technologies and brain-computer interfaces for enhancement of brain function in healthy adult or pediatric populations. Results: A total of 23 articles were included in the review, of which the majority explored expert opinions in the form of qualitative studies or surveys as well as reviews. Two studies explored the view of lay persons on the topic. The majority of evidence pointed to ethical concerns relating to a lack of sufficient efficacy and safety data for these new technologies, with the risks of invasive procedures potentially outweighing the benefits. Additionally, concerns about potential socioeconomic consequences were raised that could further exacerbate existing socioeconomic inequalities, as well as the risk of changes to person and environment. Conclusion: This scoping review highlights a critical shortage of ethical research on electrical and magnetic neuromodulation technologies and brain-computer interfaces for enhancement of brain function in healthy individuals, with key concerns regarding the safety, efficacy, and socio-economic impacts of neuromodulation technologies. It underscores the urgent need for integrating ethical considerations into neuroscientific research to address significant gaps and ensure equitable access and outcomes.

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