Illes helps launch neuroethics society

On a recent foggy day at the Asilomar conference center in Pacific Grove, 13 experts in ethics, neurology, law and clinical medicine tipped their champagne glasses to celebrate the birth of a new society. The newly minted Neuroethics Society gives some heft to a field that Stanford researchers helped found in 2002.

"The society gives us a platform for advancing neuroethics and translating it to the public," said Judy Illes, PhD, director of Stanford's program in neuroethics and a member of the society's executive committee.

Illes helped coordinate the field's seminal meeting four years ago. Since then she's seen increasing interest among researchers wanting to explore the ethical issues of modern neuroscience.

Topics addressed by neuroethics include the use of imaging techniques to predict brain diseases or personality traits, how researchers respond to anomalies found in the scans of healthy patients and the long-term use of brain altering drugs.

The group got funding from the Dana Foundation to form the society.