Programme de recherche sur l'éthique en neurosciences et en santé mentale


Éric Racine

Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Senior

Concours 2015-2016

Discoveries in the brain sciences span many contexts and rely on several techniques. These include new neurosurgeries and powerful forms of scientific imaging that allow visualizing the brain's activity. Dr. Racine's research group carries projects to answer questions associated with ethical aspects of such discoveries. Three projects are proposed for this program.

Project 1: Re-considering vulnerability in mental health research
The term "vulnerable" captures that some persons or groups of persons, such as those with mental health conditions, can be taken advantage of in research studies. Concerns about vulnerability help protect individual research participants but this protection can become an obstacle to inclusion and participation in research. We will re-consider the value of the concept of vulnerability when research focuses on new therapies in psychiatry. We will examine carefully existing policies and we will consult Canadian researchers, research participants, and other stakeholders.

Project 2: Ethical challenges in the study of the brains of newborns
Following birth, brain imaging could tell us more about a child with severe brain injury's chance of recovery (or lack thereof). This could be used to discuss if the maintenance or cessation of life sustaining treatments are in the best interest of the child. We will try to understand how Canadian specialty doctors are dealing with the use of these techniques and we will lead a group to generate recommendations on how to use ethically these techniques.

Project 3: Challenges in the public's understanding of neuroscience
There are great hopes that brain sciences will bring about major changes to society and to questions of ethics. We will investigate how this new knowledge could contribute to both the experts' and the non-experts' understanding of ethics.