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Neuro-scientific Rationale for Assisted Suicide

This was based on the presentation made by President of WFRtDS Sean Davison.

1. Public believes suicide is an irrational thought.

- Actually, suicide is a rational thought and can be the most rational thought a human can have.

2. Rational decision made by frontal lobe.

- The frontal lobe evolved to inhibit selected motor responses and suicide thought belongs to higher intellect.

3. Amygdala tries to avoid uncertainty and that's why we want to have death choice.

4. There are more females than males choose assisted suicides and more males than females choose suicides.

- Women have smaller frontal lobe and amygdala but they use all parts of brain (more complex thinking).

- Men compartmentalize decisions (more reading and thinking).

5. Assisted suicide is indirect and self-administer (not touching by doctors). Euthanasia is direct (touching by doctors). The difference is mainly about public perception (half of perception devoted to vision). This explains why 90% choose lethal injection in Netherlands (euthanasia).

6. Our own brain does not make a distinction between its own physical and mental pain. Depression or mentally ill does not imply mental incompetence (brain scan will show positive findings in mental illness). Then, depression does not mean people are in a state where they cannot make a mentally competent decision.

7. Can a professional assess mental competence of a person wanting to die? If a medical doctor cannot assess suffering or mental competence, then what?

- NUDGE, don't judge (respect individual choice of sustained and repeated request).

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