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Conference: Psychiatric Neurosurgery – Ethical, Legal and Societal Issues

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Conference: Psychiatric Neurosurgery – Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues

Date: February 22-23, 2019

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Festsaal + Festraum
Luisenstraße 56
10117 Berlin



Friday, February 22, 2019

12:30    Registration, Coffee & Tea

13:00    Welcome remarks and project presentation: “Psychiatric Neurosurgery – Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues”
Sabine Müller

Clinical topics

13:30    Decision-making of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder for psychiatric neurosurgery
Merlin Bittlinger and Chris Bervoets

14:00    Deep brain stimulation for major depression
Thomas Schläpfer

14:30    Autism surgery and ethical implications
Roberto Martínez-Álvarez

15:00    Gamma Knife radiosurgery for obsessive-compulsive disorder
Steven Rasmussen

Legal Issues

16:00     Informed consent and free will in the context of deep brain stimulation
Marisa Groß

16:30    Ulysses contracts and their legal implications for deep brain stimulation patients
Annabel Joschko

17:00    The constitutional landscape of psychiatric neurosurgery
Tade Spranger

17:30    Neurosurgery for psychopaths – an ethical analysis
Lucie White

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ethical and societal issues

09:00    Experimental deep brain stimulation for Alzheimer disease: scientific and ethical pitfalls of the exploratory research agenda
Merlin Bittlinger

09:30    Closed-loop DBS and its implications for autonomy and authenticity
Frédéric Gilbert

10:00    Ethical issues of expanding applications for deep brain stimulation: an interdisciplinary approach
Christian Ineichen

10:30    Cross-national investigations of media coverage and public reactions and attitudes about psychiatric neurosurgery
Judy Illes and Laura Cabrera


11:30     Recommendations for responsible research and practice in psychiatric neurosurgery
Sabine Müller

12:15    Panel and audience discussion about recommendations and implementation
Sabine Müller, Judy Illes, Tade Spranger, Merlin Bittlinger, and Roberto Martínez-Álvarez

13:00    End


  • Prof. Dr. Chris Bervoets, University of Leuven, Universitair Centrum voor obsessieve-compulsieve stoornissen, Leuven, Belgium
  • Merlin Bittlinger, MA, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy CCM, Germany
  • Dr. Laura Cabrera, Michigan State University, Center for Ethics & Humanities in the Life Sciences, USA
  • Dr. Frédéric Gilbert, University of Washington, Department for Philosophy, USA, and University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Marisa Groß, LL.B., University of Bonn, Department of Law, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Judy Illes, University of British Columbia, Neuroethics, Vancouver, Canada
  • Dr. Christian Ineichen, Psychiatric & Uni¬versity Hospital Zurich + Institute of Biomedical Ethics & History of Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Annabel Joschko, Mag. Iur., University of Bonn, Department of Law, Germany
  • Dr. Roberto Martínez-Álvarez, Hospital Ruber Internacional, Médico-Neurocirujano, Madrid, Spain
  • PD Dr. Sabine Müller, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy CCM, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Steven Rasmussen, Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Schläpfer, University of Freiburg, Division of Interventional Biological Psychiatry, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Tade Spranger, University of Bonn, Department of Law, Germany
  • Dr. Lucie White, University of Hannover, Department of Philosophy, Germany

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany) (01GP1621A + B), CIHR-INMHA (Canada) and National Institute of Health Carlos III (Spain)