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March 22, 2004
Journal of Neural Engineering Launches
Providing more evidence that neurotechnology industry is emerging, the Journal of Neural Engineering launched this month:
The goal of this journal is to establish a new forum for the interdisciplinary field of neural engineering where neuroscientists, neurobiologists and engineers can publish their work in one periodical that bridges the gap between neuroscience and engineering. The new journal will publish full length articles in the field of neural engineering at the molecular, cellular and systems levels.
This month's inaugural journal contains over 30 papers covering such topics as:
1. Why we need a new journal in neural engineering
2. fMRI signal changes during visual stimulation
3. Control of phase synchronization of neuronal activity in rat hippocampus
4. A versatile all-channel stimulator for electrode arrays, with real-time control
This first article is an editorial that provides more detail why the Journal of Neural Engineering is unique and important:
"Understanding how the brain works is considered the ultimate frontier and challenge in science. The complexity of the brain is so great that understanding even the most basic functions will require that we fully exploit all the tools currently at our disposal in science and engineering and simultaneously develop new methods of analysis. While neuroscientists and engineers from varied fields such as brain anatomy, neural development and electrophysiology have made great strides in the analysis of this complex organ, there remains a great deal yet to be uncovered...The ability to successfully interface the brain with external electronics would have enormous implications for our society and facilitate a revolutionary change in the quality of life of persons with sensory and/or motor deficits.
Microelectrode technology represents the initial step towards this goal and has already improved the quality of life of many patients, as is evident from the success of auditory prostheses. The cost to society of neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy is staggering. Stroke, which is the third leading cause of death in North America, runs up costs of $40 billion to society per year for its treatment. Costs associated with brain disorders are estimated at $285 billion. Breakthroughs in this field will have a significant impact on the market for enabling technologies. The market for neurological medical devices totaled $2 billion in 1999 and is projected to grow at a rate of 20 to 30% in the next ten years, far outpacing the market for cardiac devices.
Clearly this journal will play an important role in supporting the development of the basic science underlying the neuroelectronic sector of the neurotechnology industry. While this is definitely important in the near term, it remains equally important that the neurobiologic sector of the neurotechnology industry sector to also define itself as this is where an increasingly larger number of breakthroughs for neurological diseases and disorders will emerge in the long term. The best example of this is how audioceuticals will surpass the effectives of cochlear implants for the hearing impaired within the next decade.
Note: Thanks to James Canton at the Institute for Global Futures for bringing this to my attention.
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