Unlike treating a disease with a known cause and having the ability to select a therapy that cures that disease, orthodontics is limited to managing the irregularity of teeth. In simple terms, we orthodontists are able to straighten your teeth, but we really have little idea how or why they went crooked in the first place.
Like Henrietta Lacks' family, millions of us will soon confront questions about our genomes. We should learn as much as we can, and plan more carefully now, before it is too late. Our genomic data may reveal aspects of our fate, but we can still potentially control how and when the information is used.
If the BRAIN initiative is to achieve its goals and fulfill its lofty promise, it will need to address several other ethical challenges as well. These challenges involve values-laden decisions that will influence the research methods, analytic models, and policy recommendations arising from the initiative.