February 28, 2012
Formulated by the Japan Neuroscience Society (JNS) in 2001, the guidelines for ethics-related problems with “non-invasive research on human brain function” underwent a major revision in 2009 in response to changes in research trends and the social landscape. In addition to JNS members, JNS has called for all researchers that conduct non-invasive research on human brain function to strictly comply with this guideline.
As non-invasive research on human brain function also encompasses examination of the mind, which is directly linked to human dignity, it entails special care so as not to trigger social concern or apprehension such as “are they going to manipulate my mind?”. In neuroscience research, where people are the examinees, the welfare of test subjects or examination participants and their related parties must take precedence over scientific and social benefit. Therefore, researchers are expected to abide by the principles of protecting the dignity and human rights of test subjects or examination participants and their related parties, and also to formulate research plans that take ethics, law and society into consideration, subsequently conducting their research in compliance with these plans.
The neuroscience field is currently experiencing remarkable development and it is expected that new research will be planned and undertaken by many new researchers and research institutions. Therefore, JNS would once again like to ask researchers and research institutions conducting research in the field to be attentive to these ethics guidelines, study them thoroughly and adhere to their principles in order to ensure that non-invasive research on human brain function is conducted ethically.
Norihiro Sadato, Ethics Committee Chairperson, The Japan Neuroscience Society
Yasushi Miyashita, President, The Japan Neuroscience Society