Being open minded about neuromodulation trials: Finding success in our “failures”

Joseph J. Fins, Cynthia S. Kubu, Helen S. Mayberg, Reinhard Merkel, Bart Nuttin, Thomas E. Schlaepfer

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

29 Scopus citations


As part of the efforts of a multi-disciplinary, international working group focused on ethical issues in neuromodulation for neuro-psychiatric disorders, we propose a novel; strategy for study design which iteratively applies new knowledge to on-going and future trials. Under current practice, device studies may be closed or categorized as “failures” before knowledge embedded in them can be fully mined. We propose the use of an iterative process to gain knowledge from subjects who have responded to those who have not. This approach can help maximize outcomes in non-responders and inform the design of future studies. This more agile yet rigorous methodology leverages information at all stages of investigation and promotes both scientific discovery and; stewardship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number2
Early online dateDec 23 2016
StateE-pub ahead of print - Dec 23 2016


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Major depression
  • Neuroethics
  • Research methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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