Stanford Advisors

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • Rationales and Approaches to Protecting Brain Data: a Scoping Review NEUROETHICS Jwa, A. S., Martinez-Martin, N. 2024; 17 (1)
  • An XYZ-axis Matrix Approach for the Integration of Neuroscience and Neuroethics. Experimental neurobiology Jwa, A. S., Shim, J., Choi, S., Eom, J., Kim, S., Ryu, Y. 2023; 32 (1): 8-19


    The recent, unprecedented advancement in neuroscience has led to new discoveries about the human brain and its function. Yet at the same time, it has spurred novel ethical and regulatory issues, and the field of neuroethics has emerged as an interdisciplinary endeavor to address these issues. Across the globe, extensive efforts have been underway to achieve the integration of neuroscience and Neuroethics, with active engagement not only from academia but also from the government, the public, and industry. However, in some countries, integrating neuroscience and neuroethics has proved to be a particularly challenging task. For example, in South Korea, the government has primarily driven the integration effort, and only a small group of researchers is properly trained for conducting an interdisciplinary evaluation of ethical, legal, social, and cultural implications (ELSCI) of neurotechnology. On the basis of the last few years of experience pursuing a government-funded neuroethics project in South Korea, we developed a new operational framework to provide practical guidance on ELSCI research. This framework consists of the X, Y, and Z axes; the X-axis represents a target neurotechnology, the Y-axis represents different developmental stages of the technology, and the Z-axis represents ELSCI issues that may arise from the development and use of the neurotechnology. Here we also present a step-by-step workflow to apply this matrix framework, from organizing a panel for a target neurotechnology to facilitating stakeholder discussion through public hearings. This framework will enable meaningful integration of neuroscience and neuroethics to promote responsible innovation in neuroscience and neurotechnology.

    View details for DOI 10.5607/en22032

    View details for PubMedID 36919332

  • Addressing privacy risk in neuroscience data: from data protection to harm prevention. Journal of law and the biosciences Jwa, A. S., Poldrack, R. A. 2022; 9 (2): lsac025


    A recent increase in the amount and availability of neuroscience data within and outside of research and clinical contexts will enhance reproducibility of neuroscience research leading to new discoveries on the mechanisms of brain function in healthy and disease states. However, the uniquely sensitive nature of neuroscience data raises critical concerns regarding data privacy. In response to these concerns, various policy and regulatory approaches have been proposed to control access to and disclosure of neuroscience data, but excessive restriction may hamper open science practice in the field. This article argues that it may now be time to expand the scope of regulatory discourse beyond protection of neuroscience data and to begin contemplating how to prevent potential harm. Legal prohibition of harmful use of neuroscience data could provide an ultimate safeguard against privacy risks and would help us chart a path toward protecting data subjects without unduly limiting the benefits of open science practice. Here we take the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) as a reference for this new legislation and search for answers to the core regulatory questions based on what we have learned from the enactment of the GINA and the merits and weaknesses of the protection it provides.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jlb/lsac025

    View details for PubMedID 36072418

  • The spectrum of data sharing policies in neuroimaging data repositories. Human brain mapping Jwa, A. S., Poldrack, R. A. 2022


    Sharing data is a scientific imperative that accelerates scientific discoveries, reinforces open science inquiry, and allows for efficient use of public investment and research resources. Considering these benefits, data sharing has been widely promoted in diverse fields and neuroscience has been no exception to this movement. For all its promise, however, the sharing of human neuroimaging data raises critical ethical and legal issues, such as data privacy. Recently, the heightened risks to data privacy posed by the rapid advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques have made data sharing more challenging; the regulatory landscape around data sharing has also been evolving rapidly. Here we present an in-depth ethical and regulatory analysis that examines how neuroimaging data are currently shared against the backdrop of the relevant regulations and policies in the United States and how advanced software tools and algorithms might undermine subjects' privacy in neuroimaging data sharing. The implications of these novel technological threats to privacy in neuroimaging data sharing practices and policies will also be discussed. We then conclude with a proposal for a legal prohibition against malicious use of neuroscience data as a regulatory mechanism to address privacy risks associated with the data while maximizing the benefits of data sharing and open science practice in the field of neuroscience.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/hbm.25803

    View details for PubMedID 35142409

  • Inconsistencies in mapping current distribution in transcranial direct current stimulation. Frontiers in neuroimaging Jwa, A. S., Goodman, J. S., Glover, G. H. 2022; 1: 1069500


    tDCS is a non-invasive neuromodulation technique that has been widely studied both as a therapy for neuropsychiatric diseases and for cognitive enhancement. However, recent meta-analyses have reported significant inconsistencies amongst tDCS studies. Enhancing empirical understanding of current flow in the brain may help elucidate some of these inconsistencies.We investigated tDCS-induced current distribution by injecting a low frequency current waveform in a phantom and in vivo. MR phase images were collected during the stimulation and a time-series analysis was used to reconstruct the magnetic field. A current distribution map was derived from the field map using Ampere's law.The current distribution map in the phantom showed a clear path of current flow between the two electrodes, with more than 75% of the injected current accounted for. However, in brain, the results did evidence a current path between the two target electrodes but only some portion ( 25%) of injected current reached the cortex demonstrating that a significant fraction of the current is bypassing the brain and traveling from one electrode to the other external to the brain, probably due to conductivity differences in brain tissue types. Substantial inter-subject and intra-subject (across consecutive scans) variability in current distribution maps were also observed in human but not in phantom scans.An in-vivo current mapping technique proposed in this study demonstrated that much of the injected current in tDCS was not accounted for in human brain and deviated to the edge of the brain. These findings would have ramifications in the use of tDCS as a neuromodulator and may help explain some of the inconsistencies reported in other studies.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnimg.2022.1069500

    View details for PubMedID 37555148

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10406311

  • The OpenNeuro resource for sharing of neuroscience data. eLife Markiewicz, C. J., Gorgolewski, K. J., Feingold, F., Blair, R., Halchenko, Y. O., Miller, E., Hardcastle, N., Wexler, J., Esteban, O., Goncavles, M., Jwa, A., Poldrack, R. 2021; 10


    The sharing of research data is essential to ensure reproducibility and maximize the impact of public investments in scientific research. Here we describe OpenNeuro, a BRAIN Initiative data archive that provides the ability to openly share data from a broad range of brain imaging data types following the FAIR principles for data sharing. We highlight the importance of the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) standard for enabling effective curation, sharing, and reuse of data. The archive presently shares more than 600 datasets including data from more than 20,000 participants, comprising multiple species and measurement modalities and a broad range of phenotypes. The impact of the shared data is evident in a growing number of published reuses, currently totalling more than 150 publications. We conclude by describing plans for future development and integration with other ongoing open science efforts.

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.71774

    View details for PubMedID 34658334

  • Enhancing the developing brain: tensions between parent, child, and state in the United States. Journal of law and the biosciences Jwa, A. S. 2021; 8 (1): lsab017


    Recent technological advances in neuroscience offer a novel way for parents to nurture their children: altering brain activation to improve cognitive functions. Parental use and state regulation of cognitive enhancement will inevitably cause tensions between parent, child, and state. These tensions stem from three different but fundamentally related causes, namely minors' incompetency in making decisions about their own welfare, parental autonomy to make decisions about the upbringing of their minor children, and the state's interests in protecting minors' well-being. However, these tensions are not without precedents. The courts have frequently struggled to set the boundary of parental autonomy and to balance parents' rights, children's interests, and state's interests, and have accumulated extensive precedents in various contexts. This article reviews previous US court decisions in select contexts analogous to cognitive enhancement-medical intervention, education, and mandatory vaccination-and analyzes their implications for the use of cognitive enhancement on minors. This article will provide a useful guide for policy makers and researchers to identify and analyze issues regarding cognitive enhancement and to develop sound policies to ensure responsible use of this novel technology.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jlb/lsab017

    View details for PubMedID 34188944

  • Regulating the Use of Cognitive Enhancement: an Analytic Framework NEUROETHICS Jwa, A. S. 2019; 12 (3): 293–309
  • DIY tDCS: a need for an empirical look JOURNAL OF RESPONSIBLE INNOVATION Jwa, A. 2018; 5 (1): 103–8
  • Early adopters of the magical thinking cap: a study on do-it-yourself (DIY) transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) user community. Journal of law and the biosciences Jwa, A. 2015; 2 (2): 292-335


    Among currently available technologies, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is one of the most promising neuroenhancements because it is relatively effective, safe, and affordable. Recently, lay people have begun to build-or purchase-the tDCS device to use it at home for treatment or as a cognitive enhancer. The tDCS device is currently not covered by the existing regulatory framework, but there are still significant potential risks of misusing this device, and its long-term effects on the brain have not been fully explored. Thus, researchers have argued the need for regulations or official guidelines for the personal use of tDCS. However, until now, no systematic research on the do-it-yourself (DIY) tDCS user community has been done. The present study explores the basic demographic characteristics of DIY tDCS users as well as why and how they are using this device through a questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews, and a content analysis of web postings on the use of tDCS. This preliminary but valuable picture of the DIY tDCS user community will shed light on future studies and policy analysis to craft sound regulations and official guidelines for the use of tDCS.

    View details for PubMedID 27774197