The Neuroethics of Biomarkers: What the Development of Bioprediction Means for Moral Responsibility…

Hardcover | February 25, 2016

byMatthew L. Baum

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Neuroscientists are mining nucleic acids, blood, saliva, and brain images in hopes of uncovering biomarkers that could help estimate risk of brain disorders like psychosis and dementia; though the science of bioprediction is young, its prospects are unearthing controversy about howbioprediction should enter hospitals, courtrooms, or state houses. While medicine, law, and policy have established protocols for how presence of disorders should change what we owe each other or who we blame, they have no stock answers for the probabilities that bioprediction offers. TheNeuroethics of Biomarkers observes, however, that for many disorders, what we really care about is not their presence per se, but certain risks that they carry. The current reliance of moral and legal structures on a categorical concept of disorder (sick verses well), therefore, obscures difficult questions about what types and magnitudes of probabilities matter. Baum argues that progress in the neuroethics of biomarkers requires the rejection of the binaryconcept of disorder in favor of a probabilistic one based on biological variation with risk of harm, which Baum names a "Probability Dysfunction." This risk-reorientation clarifies practical ethical issues surrounding the definition of mental disorder in the DSM-5 and the nosology of conditionsdefined by risk of psychosis and dementia. Baum also challenges the principle that the acceptability of bioprediction should depend primarily on whether it is medically useful by arguing that biomarkers can also be morally useful through enabling moral agency, better assessment of legalresponsibility, and fairer distributive justice. The Neuroethics of Biomarkers should be of interest to those within neuroethics, medical ethics, and the philosophy of psychiatry.

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Neuroscientists are mining nucleic acids, blood, saliva, and brain images in hopes of uncovering biomarkers that could help estimate risk of brain disorders like psychosis and dementia; though the science of bioprediction is young, its prospects are unearthing controversy about howbioprediction should enter hospitals, courtrooms, or st...

Matthew L. Baum, DPhil, is an MD-PhD trainee at Harvard and MIT within the Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the Harvard Program in Neuroscience. He earned a DPhil from Oxford via his work at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and the Ethox Center as a Rhodes Scholar. He holds an MSc in Neuroscience from Trinity College Dub...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:February 25, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190236264

ISBN - 13:9780190236267

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Biomedical Promise Of Biomarkers2. Bioprediction Of Brain Disorder: Definitions And ScopePART I: REORIENTATION OF THE CONCEPT OF DISORDER3. "There Is More Light Here." Re-Illuminating The Categories Of Mental4. The Probability Dysfunction5. The Practical Ethics Of Predictive Markers In Diagnosis: Can Risk Banding Address The Ethical Controversy Surrounding "Psychosis Risk Syndrome" And "Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease"?PART II: BIOPREDICTION AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY6. Enhanced Responsibility: Foreseeability And New Obligations To Others7. Reduced Responsibility: Distinguishing Conditions In Which Biomarkers Properly Reduce Legal ResponsibilityPART III: BIOPREDICTION AND SOCIETY8. Bioprediction And PriorityConclusionAppendix IAppendix IIAppendix IIIReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"An exciting and comprehensive look at an important topic. Sure to be of interest to scientists and bioethicists working in the area." --I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, Harvard Law School