Some of these electrical technologies interfere deeply with the structures of the nerve and need surgery to be implanted. However, the brain to most people is a very vulnerable organ, as it appears to be the place of many of the features that humans consider to be essential for their self-definition. Manipulation and surgical interventions in the brain raise concerne on possible far-reaching consequences for the psyche of the patients. Thus, it is no wonder that applications placed directly in the brain must overcome many ethical obstacles to be accepted by patients. Unethical research with humans in the middle of the 20th century, especially in early psychosurgery and the application of lobotomy, had discredited the research on the human brain – and suspiciousness is still very common. On the other hand, these technologies create exaggerated hopes of curing diseases and fantasies about the future, that increase the danger of malpractice.
Today, scientists work on making these methods safer, easier, more effective and persistent. In addition, new technologies like optogenetics emerge, which connect genetics and electrophysiology. The development of brain-machine-interfaces constantly advances, so that these mechanisms can adapt therapy to the state of the brain by using feedback loops. We want to attend and discuss these developments at our events by inviting scientists and the public to express and exchange their concerns and wishes – so that the mistakes of the past do not repeat themselves.