NBC Evening News for Thursday, Dec 08, 1977
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(Studio) Unusual definition of pacemaker as applied to heart cited. Special report with regard to development of pacemaker for brain and moral questions it raises.
REPORTER: John Chancellor
(No location given) Brain pacemaker has been implanted in brain of man previously confined to mental hospital because of outbreaks of violence. [MAN - describes previous behavior and difference in it since implantation of electrodes in brain.] Details of basic research into functioning of brain and effect of electric impulses on different sections of it, using animals for study, outlined. Scientists' general view that such experiments shouldn't be used on humans yet, and view of New Orleans' Tulane University Med. School mbr., Dr. Robert Heath, that they should be, stated. [HEATH - says only way to examine functions of mind is to have alive, alert human tell of thoughts and feelings.] Heath's early experiments in field described. Film shown, with regard to experiment of woman in pain from terminal cancer. [WOMAN - tells doctor of pain.] Implantation of electrodes in woman's brain noted. [WOMAN - says it feels fine.] Heath's development of brain pacemaker and its method of stimulation described. [MIT scientist Dr. Steven CHOROVER - notes imaginings of such device in science fiction, but sees no reason to think it exists now in New Orleans.] [Northwestern University scientist Dr. Aryeh ROUTTENBERG - states this is powerful tool and shouldn't be used in man's head; cites reasons.] [HEATH - can't see how it could be misused since control is in patient's hands.] Concern that electrical stimulation control won't stay in patient's hands detailed.
REPORTER: Robert Bazell