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Patient experiences with implanted closed-loop neuromodulation as inputs for human-centered design

Winston Chiong


Emerging advances in neurotechnology hold transformative potential for the diagnosis, treatment and alleviation of neuropsychiatric illnesses. Yet these new technologies will be implemented in a complex arena shaped by factors such as patients’ and caregivers’ prior experiences of unsuccessful treatment, clinicians’ comfort in incorporating new techniques into existing practice, the social stigma attached to many brain disorders, and both fear and enthusiasm in our broader culture about computational manipulation of the human brain. Given this complexity, the development of new neurotechnologies could have unanticipated and even adverse consequences for patients, users (in non-clinical settings) and society — particularly if not informed by careful examination of how neurotechnology is incorporated into people’s daily lives. I will present unexpected findings from my lab’s ethnographic research on implanted closed-loop neuromodulation for epilepsy and consider implications for the design of future interventions.



Winston Chiong is an associate professor in the UCSF Department of Neurology, principal investigator of the UCSF Decision Lab, and interim director of UCSF Bioethics. His clinical practice focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and other cognitive disorders of aging. His research is informed by his broad training in clinical medicine, philosophy and cognitive neuroscience; and by his interdisciplinary collaborations in other fields including anthropology, sociology, economics and law. Nationally, he serves on the NIH BRAIN Neuroethics Working Group and the American Academy of Neurology’s Ethics, Law and Humanities Committee. His research has two main themes: (1) the neural bases of decision-making in the aging brain, focusing on how brain systems involved in financial and medical decisions are influenced by health and disease; and (2) the ethical, policy and health equity implications of alterations to brain function, informed by the experiences of patients with brain diseases and those undergoing new brain-based therapies.

Winston Chiong Headshot
Winston Chiong
ECE 125
5 Apr 2022, 10:30am until 11:30am