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Novel Neurotechnological Interventions for Pediatric Drug-Resistant Epilepsy: Physician Perspectives.

  • Author(s): McDonald, Patrick J;
  • Hrincu, Viorica;
  • Connolly, Mary B;
  • Harrison, Mark J;
  • Ibrahim, George M;
  • Naftel, Robert P;
  • Chiong, Winston;
  • Udwadia, Farhad;
  • Illes, Judy
  • et al.

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This qualitative study investigated factors that guide physicians' choices for minimally invasive and neuromodulatory interventions as alternatives to conventional surgery or medical management for pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy. North American physicians were recruited to one of 4 focus groups at national conferences. Discussions were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. A pragmatic neuroethics framework was applied to interpret results. Discussions revealed 2 major thematic branches: (1) clinical decision making and (2) ethical considerations. Under clinical decision making, physicians emphasized scientific evidence and patient candidacy when assessing neurotechnologies for patients. Ongoing seizures without intervention was important for safety and neurodevelopment. Under ethical considerations, resource allocation, among other financial considerations for technology adoption, were considerable sources of pressure on decision making. Access to neurotechnology was a salient theme differentiating Canadian and American contexts. When assessing novel neurotechnological interventions for pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy, physicians balance clinical and ethical factors to guide decision making and best practice.

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