Brain stimulation for treatment and enhancement in children: an ethical analysis

18 December 2014

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 18 December 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00953 Dr Hannah Maslen, Dr Brian D. Earp, Dr Roi Cohen Kadosh and Professor Julian Savulescu


This paper argues that brain stimulation for “enhance­ment”—insofar as it involves a more controversial weighting of benefits vs. risks and costs—should be delayed until the child has reached a state of maturity. In this way, she can make an informed, personal decision about the proposed intervention. Brain stimulation for “treatment”, by contrast, is permissible insofar it can be shown to be at least as safe and effective as currently approved treatments (which are themselves justified on a best interests standard).