Impact Assessment of Neuroimaging

Expert study (2006)


Opportunities and risks of neuroimaging

There are considerable opportunities in the field of diagnostics, where imaging techniques can be used to detect brain diseases early on, and surgical procedures can be performed with greater precision. The procedures are also of value in basic research, because they help us to understand how the brain functions. But there is still some controversy on tests that have no direct connection with diseases: what knowledge do they provide to educational research, for marketing or for identifying potential criminals?

 Why conduct a TA-SWISS study on the «Impact Assessment of Neuroimaging»?

 Neuroimaging is developing at great speed, and the range of applications of the procedure is constantly growing, including outside the field of medicine. So far, even at international level, no TA study has been conducted to investigate what effects this has.

Media information
17.11.06 Die Folgen von Hirnbildern für Strafrecht und Datenschutz (in German)
05.05.06 Deceptively nice images of the brain
05.05.06 Neuroimaging: The four most important methods
09.12.04 Questioning views of the brain


Project supported by

  • Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS
  • Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMW)

Project mandataries

  • Dr Bärbel Hüsing, Biologist, Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe (Project Manager)
  • Prof. Peter Bösiger, Physician, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Zurich University and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (FIT)
  • Prof. Lutz Jäncke, Neuropsychologist, Institute for Psychology, University of Zurich
  • Prof. Brigitte Tag, Jurist, Institute of Criminal Law and Procedure, University of Zurich

Supervisory group

  • Dr Hermann Amstad, Medical practitioner, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences SAMW (chairman of the support group)
  • Dr Andrea Arz de Falco, Theologian, Biomedicine Division, Federal Office of Public Health
  • Prof. Lazare Benaroyo, Medical practitioner and ethicist, Lemanic Centre for Ethics, University of Lausanne
  • Regula Burri, Sociologist, Collegium Helveticum, Federal Institute of Technology FIT Zurich
  • Prof. Michael Hagner, Neurophysiologist and research scientist, Professor of Scientific Research, Federal Institute of Technology FIT Zurich
  • Dr Christian Heuss, Neurobiologist and scientific journalist, Radio DRS 2, Basel
  • Alain Kaufmann, Biologist and sociologist, Interface Sciences-Société, Imédia, University of Lausanne
  • Prof. Theodor Landis, Medical practitioner, Department of Neurology, Geneva University Hospital
  • Dr Dieter Meier, Physician, MR Centre, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Zurich University Hospital
  • Prof. Hanns Möhler, Neuropharmacologist, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal Institute of Technology FIT Zurich
  • Prof. Walter Perrig, Psychologist, Department of Psychology, University of Berne
  • Prof. Beat Sitter-Liver, Ethicist, Department of Philosophy, University of Fribourg
  • Prof. Dominique Sprumont, Jurist, Institute of Health Law, University of Neuchâtel

TA-SWISS Project Management

Dr Adrian Rüegsegger, TA-SWISS. e-mail

order publication