Neuroscience is making tremendous progress in the field of consciousness. With new knowledge on Disorders of Consciousness (i.e., Vegetative State/Unaware Wakefulness Syndrome, Minimally Conscious State, Cognitive-Motor Dissociation) coming out of the Human Brain Project, neuroethical reflection on both foundational and practical issues becomes imperative.
Foundational issues include the definition of consciousness and its possible use in the clinical context and potential technological simulation or emulation. More practical issues related to the detection of residual consciousness in patients with Disorders of Consciousness also arise with new research findings being introduced. Our training module on neuroethical reflection on consciousness and cognition gives some insight into the topic.
This presentation introduces the neuroethics of consciousness with a specific focus on Disorders of Consciousness. First with a focus on the clinical contexts of consciousness and cognition followed by a presentation on how to diagnose patients with Disorders of Consciousness. The presenters are Michele Farisco, neuroethics researcher at the Center for Research Ethics and Bioethics at Uppsala University, researching consciousness, artificial intelligence and neuroethics within the Human Brain Project and Benedetta Cecconi, PhD student in cognitive neuroscience at the Coma Science Group, University of Liège. Her research combines neuroimaging and phenomenological sampling to study the relationship between brain activity and subjective experience.
In this video, Jitka Annen, a neurobiology researcher at the Coma Science group at the University of Liège, presents an overview of the main clinical measures of residual consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness and related therapeutic options.
This is one of the topics in a series of training modules explaining and reflecting on the concept of responsible research and innovation and how this approach can enable better science and innovation. The training covers human and animal data, gender, diversity and inclusion, researcher awareness and research integrity, dual use of concern and misuse ethics and RRI dimensions of knowledge transfer and commercialization, neuroethics, consciousness & AI ethics, and science communication. A module on public engagement and foresight is under development and will be available soon.
Want to know more about Responsible Research and Innovation in the Human Brain Project, more information can be found on the Ethics and Society webpage.