Joshua Preston (’19), Caitlin Opperman (’18), Prof. Francis Shen Co-Author AMA Journal of Ethics Article

In its December 2016 issue, the AMA Journal of Ethics has published an article co-authored by Law School students Joshua Preston (’19) and Caitlin Opperman (’18), along with Professor Francis Shen and other student members of the Shen Neurolaw Lab. Preston was the lead author on the article, “The Legal Implications of Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease Earlier,” which touches on several ramifications of the increasing use of early-detection technology to diagnose and treat AD. These include, among others, whether a neurological indicator of increased risk for AD can be considered a legally relevant brain state before there are outward behavioral manifestations of the disease; how courts should address evidentiary challenges to the admissibility of AD-related neuroimaging; and who should—and should not—have access to a patient’s AD neuroimaging data.

Preston is in the first year of a joint J.D./M.A. in bioethics at the Law School. He is also a research fellow at the Center for Science and Law at Baylor College of Medicine. Opperman earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and worked as a clinical psychometrist before enrolling at the Law School. The article’s other student co-authors are Jaleh McTeigue, a former researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College; University of Minnesota neuroscience undergraduates Jordan Dean Scott Krieg and Mikaela Brandt-Fontaine, who both plan to attend medical school; and University psychology undergraduate Alina Yasis, who intends to pursue graduate studies in neuroscience. All are current (in McTeigue’s case, former) research assistants in the Shen Neurolaw Lab.

“This article highlights the fact that students can come to the Law School and actually publish with professors, and the Law School’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and research made its publication possible,” Shen commented. “Students see the value in combining science and law, and this project was especially noteworthy because the lead author is a 1L and the second author is a Mount Holyoke student who sought to work with our lab after reading about neurolaw. We are establishing the University of Minnesota Law School as a national leader in this exciting new area.”