Cosmetic Neurology: For Physicians the Future is Now

2004 Virtual Mentor  
Basic neuroscience and neuropharmacology are beginning to yield therapies for cognitive disorders. While we can eagerly anticipate treatments for dementing illnesses, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and developmental abnormalities, these very treatments raise uncomfortable questions. If we can improve cognitive systems in disease, can we also do so in health? Should we practice cosmetic neurology? The possibility of "better brains" has captured the imagination of the press, policy pundits, and
more » ... thicists [1-10]. With few exceptions, physicians have not contributed to these discussions, despite their central role in this unfolding drama [11, 12] . Cosmetic neurology includes the use of botulinum toxin to brush away wrinkles. However, it also alters how we function and feel, rather than just how we look. Many interventions to improve cognitive and emotional systems are available now, and others are on the horizon. The risks and benefits of newer medications remain to be worked out. However, we can assume that some version of these medications will be relatively efficacious and safe. The accompanying article on neuroethics by Martha Farah reviews the anticipated pharmacopeia of cosmetic neurology and the deep ethical concerns raised for individuals and society (also see [12] ). The focus here is on the role of the physician in managing the use of cosmetic neurologic interventions.
doi:10.1001/virtualmentor.2004.6.8.oped1-0408 pmid:23260791 fatcat:4we2jekcpnhhhdawtwgdtkc46u