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There has been a resurgence in the practice of psychosurgery in the last decade primarily for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. This is due to the application of deep brain stimulation (which has largely replaced lesioning) and to a greater understanding of the imaging correlates of mental illness. Psychosurgery is expanding well beyond these indications. Many ethical challenges arise, including informed consent, establishing the efficacy of these procedures from the literature and in the design of new studies, the harm versus benefit ratio, and the role of institutional and governmental regulatory control over psychosurgery. Psychosurgery remains experimental or at least investigational and the ethical considerations should be of prime importance for any practitioner undertaking this surgery. We propose eighteen principles as a basis for a regulatory framework of psychosurgery. Neurosurgeons who perform psychosurgery have an immense responsibility to guard against a repeat of the failures of the past.
To explore patients' understanding of decision making in the treatment of advanced cancer and to determine the factors they believe important to these processes in their care.
Surveys were distributed to consecutive outpatients with advanced malignancy attending a comprehensive cancer treatment center.
Patients believed that the medical condition (94%), their doctors' experience (81%), and the medical literature (73%) are the most important factors for decisions made in their care. They also value their relationship with the doctor (63%) and their own (the patients') values (63%), and just over a third considered their family's values and the doctors' personality important. Most did not believe the doctors' values should influence decisions made. They were mindful of the uncertainty involved in decisions in the setting of advanced cancer.
Significance of results:
Overall, patients were satisfied with the decision-making processes and they understood and highly regarded the incorporation of factors, other than their medical condition, in their care.
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