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Psychiatric Neurosurgery - Subprojects

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Subprojects of Psychiatric Neurosurgery

The collaboration project consists of the following projects:

1. Ethics (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie CCM):

The Ethics subproject comprehensively examines ethical issues of the whole field of psychiatric neurosurgery, namely deep brain stimulation, but also ablative methods (microsurgery and radiosurgery) which have been neglected so far by ethicists. We will consider PNS within its broader societal context, particularly the burden of chronic mentally ill patients, trends of dehospitalization, compulsive treatments of mentally ill patients, and financial interests of device producers, hospitals, and physicians. Furthermore, the Ethics subproject coordinates the consortium.

Funding: Federal Ministry for Research and Education (01GP1621A)

PI: PD Dr. Sabine Müller


2. Law (Universität Bonn, Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaften):

The Law subproject we will analyze the recent legislation including International Law concerning psychiatric neurosurgery.

Funding: Federal Ministry for Research and Education (01GP1621B)

PI: Prof. Dr. Dr. Tade Matthias Spranger


3. Social Sciences and Ethics (National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada):

International media coverage plays a crucial role for the public acceptance of modern psychiatric neurosurgery, as well as influence legal theorists and politicians who face decisions about admissibility and regulation The Social Sciences and Ethics subproject investigates the amount, quality and impact of media reports about psychiatric neurosurgery in a cross-national comparison. Furthermore, citizens from several sites of the consortium participate in community conversations, i.e. so-called focus groups. These interviews will reveal the impact of PNS media coverage on the public opinion, provide insights about the diversity of opinions and allows for comparison of differences across different countries.


PI: Prof. Dr. Judy Illes

Cooperation with Dr. Laura Cabrera, Michigan State University, USA, Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences


4. Ablative Neurosurgery and Radiosurgery (Functional Neurology, Hospital Ruber Internacional, Madrid, Spain):

This subproject will investigate the quality of life and cognitive functions of patients diagnosed with severe psychiatric disorders after receiving ablative neurosurgery or radiosurgery for psychiatric disorders.

Funding: National Institute of Health Carlos III

PI: Dr. Roberto Martínez-Álvarez


5. Deep Brain Stimulation (Universitair Centrum voor obsessieve-compulsieve stoornissen, KU Leuven, Belgium):

The objectives of this subproject are to record and analyze experiences of OCD patients treated with DBS and of their family members, to investigate their decision making process of patients when choosing DBS, and to explore the attitudes of psychiatrists and neurosurgeons in Flanders towards psychosurgery.

PI: Prof. Dr. Chris Bervoets und Prof. Dr. Loes Gabriels