Think about this: A 59-year-old Dutch man with advanced Parkinson’s disease is experiencing debilitating tremors. His doctors implant electrodes deep in his brain, which counteract the faulty signals but cause new troubles. The man starts behaving erratically, making grandiose claims, racking up sizable debts and generally making poor decisions. His doctors adjust the stimulation settings, and even prescribe mood stabilizing drugs, but they don’t help. Eventually, he has to make a choice: Stop the stimulation and be admitted to a nursing home, or keep it and be confined to a psychiatric ward.
This real-life dilemma, pulled from the pages of a Dutch medical journal, illustrates the ethical quandaries that arise from new mind-altering technologies such as deep-brain stimulation, says Josh May, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Philosophy.
When machines and brains mix, who's in charge? This is the type of problem pondered by neuroethicists such as UAB's Josh May, Ph.D., who examine questions at the crossroads of neuroscience and ethics.
Department of Psychology assistant professor Dr. Robert Sorge was named one of seven Rita Allen Foundation Scholars for 2015.Robert Sorge, Ph.D., was named one of seven Rita Allen Foundation Scholars for 2015. Sorge is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program supports basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and neuroscience. Scholars are early-stage investigators and leaders in their respective fields who are advancing our understanding of the human condition.
Sorge’s research is primarily in the field of neuroscience, specifically focused on pain. His lab explores the interplay between addiction and pain, as well as the role of the immune system in pain sensitivity. As a scholar in pain research, Sorge will be granted $50,000 per year for up to three years to support his work.
Tyna Adams, advisor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, received the Outstanding New Advisor Award during the National Academic Advising Association annual meeting.Academic advisors from two University of Alabama at Birmingham schools received awards during the National Academic Advising Association annual meeting. Collat School of Business academic advisor Andrea Miller Pound received the Outstanding Advising Award, and Tyna Adams, advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Outstanding New Advisor Award.