The 2022-2023 Bioethics Public Seminar Series continues next month with a webinar from Center Assistant Professor Michelle T. Pham, PhD, on “Clinician Perspectives on the Potential of DBS for Pediatric Patients with Treatment-Resistant OCD.” This virtual event is free to attend and open to all individuals.
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
1:30-2:30 PM EST (UTC−05:00)
Zoom webinar registration: bit.ly/bioethics-pham
The World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery has argued that at least two successful randomized controlled trials should be available before deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment for a psychiatric disorder is considered “established.” DBS is currently offered to children ages 7 and older with refractory dystonia under an FDA-humanitarian device exemption. No randomized control trials were conducted – practitioners relied on evidence from DBS use in adults. In addition, accumulated research supports the safety and effectiveness of DBS for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults (Wu et al. 2021).
Approximately 10-20% of children with OCD have treatment-resistant presentations, so it is likely that there will be interest in offering DBS for some children (POTS 2004). Both ethical and empirical anticipatory work is needed to evaluate whether, and if so, under what conditions it might be appropriate to offer DBS in this context. This seminar will present qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with 24 clinicians with expertise in this area regarding: (a) acceptable levels of evidence to offer DBS in this patient population and (b) institutional policies or protocols needed to effectively provide care for them.
Michelle T. Pham is an assistant professor in the Center for Bioethics and Social Justice and the Department of Medicine in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She conducts research in the interdisciplinary field of Neuroethics and connected issues in the Philosophy of Science. Some recent topics include promoting post-trial care for patient-participants in experimental brain implant studies and decision-making in the context of pediatric deep brain stimulation. Pham also researches ways to promote engagement with patient-participants who contribute to neuroscience and neurotechnology research; and she has raised the concern that patient-participants in these brain implant studies may be exploited.