The Neuroethics and Neurolaw of Brain Injury


  • Neil Krishan Aggarwal M.D., M.A.,

    Corresponding author
    1. New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, U.S.A.
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, U.S.A.
    • Correspondence to: Neil Krishan Aggarwal, M.D., M.A., New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 11, New York, NY 10032, U.S.A. E-mail:

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  • Elizabeth Ford M.D.

    1. Bellevue Hospital Center and NYU School of Medicine
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Neuroethics and neurolaw are fields of study that involve the interface of neuroscience with clinical and legal decision-making. The past two decades have seen increasing attention being paid to both fields, in large part because of the advances in neuroimaging techniques and improved ability to visualize and measure brain structure and function. Traumatic brain injury (TBI), along with its acute and chronic sequelae, has emerged as a focus of neuroethical issues, such as informed consent for treatment and research, diagnostic and prognostic uncertainties, and the subjectivity of interpretation of data. The law has also more frequently considered TBI in criminal settings for exculpation, mitigation and sentencing purposes and in tort and administrative law for personal injury, disability and worker's compensation cases. This article provides an overview of these topics with an emphasis on the current challenges that the neuroscience of TBI faces in the medicolegal arena. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.