A news story about a recent meeting on bioethics in neuroscience reports that brain abnormalities are, well, not that abnormal:
Judy Illes, a senior research scholar at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, said that she and others have found that 18 percent of healthy volunteers had some kind of brain anamoly. While only 2 percent to 8 percent have required clinical follow-up, these incidental findings have raised concerns among scientists who are using the newest technology to unravel the mysteries of the brain.
Ethical issues in neuroscience and neuroimaging research (often called ‘neuroethics’) are becoming increasingly important as previously expensive and exclusive scientific tools (such as fMRI) are becoming widely used.
One important issue of debate is the ethics of informing someone if a brain abnormality is detected, when they have volunteered to take part in a research study as a healthy participant.