With the fast development of China’s neuroscience research, Chinese researchers are also working on a framework to identify and assess ethical challenges in this research area.
Researchers from Shanghai-based Tongji University have recently published a research paper in the international journal Neuron, analyzing the ethical questions and social concerns emerging from neuroscience research in China’s social and cultural context and offering potential solutions.
According to the research, brain banks that contain healthy and diseased samples are important for neuroscience research, however, in China, promoting organ donation is a difficult job and perhaps an even tougher one for brain donation.
One aim of China’s neuroscience is to achieve early diagnosis and prediction of neuropsychiatric diseases. However, the social stigma toward neuropsychiatric diseases and mental health problems is still common.
The research pointed out that China should adhere to international ethical guidelines in neuroscience research and actively participate in the formation of international ethics rules. Chinese scientists should foster collaboration with international peers in this area.
According to the research, educational programs on neuroscience for the general public are also imperative. China needs to enhance public understanding of neuroscience development, avoid false propaganda, and increase social acceptance of brain diseases and mental disorders.
Pei Gang, one of the leading researchers, said the research was based on discussion between many neuroscientists and ethics experts.
“We hope to propose solutions for ethical issues in neuroscience from the perspective of China’s distinctive cultural and social background, to promote the application of neuroscience for the benefit of people’s health,” Pei said.