About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
Follow me on Twitter at @neurorev
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February 22, 2006

3D Rooms - Visual Perception Art Tricks

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Via MindHacks:

Perception is a fundamentally underconstrained problem. You get information in through your senses, but not enough information to be absolutely sure of what is causing those sensations. A good example is perception of depth in vision. You get a pattern of light falling on your retinas (retinae?), in two dimensions, and from that you infer a three dimensional world, using various clever calculations of the visual system and some assumptions about what is likely. But because the process remains fundamentally underconstrained, there is always the possibility that you will see something that isn't really there - that is, your visual system will take in a pattern of information and decide that it is more likely to be produced by a scenario different from the real one.

They're painted so that from one particular angle the shapes line up and your visual system flips into thinking that it can see a flat, 2D, pattern when the reality is a disjoint 3D one.


More AMAZING rooms here. For other beautiful art check out the reflectionist Marcia Smilack.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroesthetics

February 15, 2006

Brain Industry Leaders Come Together

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Registrations are rolling in for the Neurotech Industry Investing and Business Conference to be held on May 18 in S.F. This is great for the networking aspect of the conference. I bet it has something to do with the March 1st early registration deadline which can save you $400. If you intend to come to the conference you shouldn't wait much longer (unless you aren't price sensitive). 118_Neurotech_Industry_Conference_Brochure-_May_18_Page_1_sm.jpgWe've put together a world-class program focused on revealing the critical trends driving the development of new drugs, devices and diagnostics for the brain and nervous system. (Agenda here)

Here is the list of confirmed speakers as of today:

Floyd E. Bloom, MD, Chairman, CSO & Founding CEO, Neurome
Mark Carney, President & CEO, Andara Life Science
Jim Cavuoto, Editor, Neurotech Reports
Mark Cochran, PhD, Managing Director, NeuroVentures Capital
Donald deBethizy, PhD, President & CEO, Targacept
Frank Eeckman, MD, PhD, Neurotech Insights, Centient
Matt Fust, Sr. VP & Chief Financial Officer, Jazz Pharmaceuticals
Steven Gerrish, Director of Business Development Purdue Research Foundation
Jennifer Griffiths, Director, Search & Evaluation, Global Business Development & Licensing, Novartis
Stephen Hoffman, MD, PhD, General Partner, Techno Venture Management
Allan Jones, PhD, Director, Allen Institute for Brain Science
Michael Kauffman, MD, PhD, President & CEO, Predix
Johnathan Kil, MD, President & CEO, Sound Pharmaceuticals
Lothar Krinke, PhD, Sr. Director, Business Development, Medtronic Neurological
Casey Lynch, Managing Partner, NeuroInsights Managing Director, Science Futures
John Lyon, CEO, Leptos Biomedical
Lore Harp McGovern, Founder, McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
Martin McGlynn, President & CEO, StemCells, Inc.
William C. Mobley, MD, PhD, Director, Neuroscience Institute at Stanford
Jeffrey Ostrove, PhD, President & CEO, Ceregene
Rodney Pearlman, PhD, President & CEO, Saegis Pharmaceuticals
Roger Quy, PhD, General Partner, Technology Partners
Dr. Christine de los Reyes, Senior Director, Licensing & Development, Pfizer
Wendye Robbins, MD, Clinical Professor of Anesthesia, Stanford University, Founder, Efflux Co-founder, NeurogesX
William Sawyers, Director, Business Development, Ernst Gallo Clinic & Research Center
John Schenk, MD, PhD, NeuroImaging Research, GE Global Research Center
Jim Schoeneck, CEO, BrainCells Inc.
Christopher Scott, Executive Director, Stanford Program on Stem Cells & Society
Bruce Shook, President & CEO, Neuronetics
Dr. Kumar Srinivasan, Senior Director, Licensing, Global Business Development, Wyeth
Rick Stewart, CEO, Amarin Corporation
Bim Strausser, MD, Bridge Biomedical
Tim Surgenor, CEO, Cyberkinetics

Planned with the assistance of our knowledgeable advisory board, this market defining one-day conference is the only place for investors, executives, entrepreneurs, and researchers to come together to extend their neurotech network.

Our Advisory Board:

Sam Barondes, MD, Director, Center Neurobiology & Psychiatry, UCSF
Nola Masterson, Managing Director, Science Futures
Bob Metcalfe, PhD, Chairman, Leadership Board, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT
Dan O’Connell, Director, NeuroVentures Capital
Roger Quy, PhD, General Partner, Technology Partners
Nandini Tandon, PhD, Venture Partner, MDS Capital

As someone who has their pulse on almost everything brain related, I can tell there is no better investment of your time than attending this event. Unless, of course, you want to take the money and head off to Argentina to see the U2 concert. Register at

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurotech Industry

February 14, 2006

February 9, 2006

Sex, Drugs and Trading Stocks

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Posted by Zack Lynch

What do sex, drugs and trading stocks have in common?

According to an article written by Adam Levy of Bloomberg that is currently circulating around the world's newspapers, quite a bit.

Late at night, in a basement laboratory at Stanford University, Brian Knutson made a startling discovery: Our brains lust after money, just like they crave sex....

The pleasure of orgasm, the high from cocaine, the rush of buying Google Inc. at $450 a share -- the same neural network governs all three, Knutson, 38, concluded. What's more, our primal pleasure circuits can, and often do, override our seat of reason, the brain's frontal cortex, the professor says. In other words, stocks, like sex, sometimes drive us crazy.

Knutson says he knows how heretical his findings are. Wall Street is dedicated to the principle that when it comes to money, logic prevails, that intellect matters in investing. The idea is enshrined in the economic theory of rational expectations, for which Robert Lucas won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1995.

The story continues...

The question that keeps nagging Knutson is this: Why do some traders get rich while others walk away losers? The answer, he says, may lie somewhere in 60,000 miles of neural wiring inside our brains.

The results of the Stanford study, published in the September issue of Neuron magazine, have caused a stir among the small group of neuroscientists and psychologists who are mapping the human brain in hopes of understanding investor behavior.

This controversial field, called neurofinance, may represent the next great frontier on Wall Street, says Daniel Kahneman, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics for his pioneering work in behavioral finance, which fuses classical economic theory and studies of human psychology.

"The brain scientists are the wave of the future in the financial world," Kahneman, 71, says. "If you seek to maximize understanding, whether you're in academia or in the investment community, you'd better pay very serious attention to them."

To proponents such as Kahneman, the potential of neurofinance seems virtually limitless.

One day, brain science may help money managers spot shifts in investor sentiment, says David Darst, chief investment strategist for the $700 billion individual investor group at New York-based Morgan Stanley. Armed with brain scans, psychotherapists may be able to hone traders' natural impulses of fear and greed.

Neuroscientists may even develop psychoactive drugs, or neuroceuticals, that make people better, more-profitable traders, Knutson and other psychologists say. Look at Prozac. In the space of a few years, Prozac and other drugs have not only revolutionized the treatment of depression but also profoundly changed the way we view the mind. People recognize that chemistry drives their brains, moods and behavior -- and that chemistry can change them.

Trader drugs

Similar drugs, ones that improve a trader's decision making by 20 percent to 30 percent, may be just a few years away, says Zack Lynch, managing director of NeuroInsights, a San Francisco-based consulting firm that tracks the $100 billion neurotechnology industry. If these neuroceuticals work, they could rock Wall Street.

"The whole investment community will be scrambling to get these things," Lynch says.

So far, the hopes and claims of neurofinance have far outpaced its science. Few investment professionals have even heard of the field. Many who have dismiss it as hokum.

...To read the full article follow the link above.

So here is my correction.
As I have written here on Brain Waves in the past and said in previous interviews, while I do believe we are on the cusp of a new wave of financial trading systems that leverage neurotechnology, I don't just mean highly efficacious and safe neuropharmaceuticals that reduce the anxiety behind trading jitters. More accurately, I believe that the real breakthrough will come from real-time brain scanning and neurofeedback software solutions that correlate previous brain states and trading success to give the trader a predictive capacity based upon their continuously shifting neurobiology. Think of your brain as a market of neurons matched up with the rest of the market economy. When the internal market matches up with external market you have a more profitable solution. Anyone want to raise ten million to test out my more detailed concept?

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurofinance

February 7, 2006

February 6, 2006

Why Care About Neurotech and a Rising Neurotech Index?

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Why should you care about neurotech?

Over 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from a brain-related illness. Beyond the untold human suffering, brain-related illness generate well over $1 Trillion a year in direct and indirect economic costs. Neurotech companies develop treatments for brain-related illness.

Why should you care about a rising neurotech index?

You should care because it is a broad based gauge of investor sentiment about the current state and future potential development of better treatments for neurological diseases and psychiatric illness. As the incidence of brain-related illnesses continues to climb with aging populations, investors will fund companies developing next generation drugs, devices and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, stroke and other brain-related illnesses. Companies focused on treating these diseases are the focus of the neurotech index. A rising index generally indicates increased penetration of more effective treatments to a wider patient population. (For more on the neurotech index please click here.

From this month's Neurotech Insights focused on Sleep Disorders:
NeuroInsights' Neurotech Index soared 21% in January boosted by big gains from Amarin (AMRN), Somaxon (SOMX), Boston Life Sciences (BLSI), Cortex (COR), Renovis (RNVS), Pain Therapeutics (PTIE), and Acadia (ACAD). Amarin Corporation (AMRN) jumped over 150% this month to $3.43 per share after announcing licensing of its drug LAX-202 for fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis to Multicell Technologies Inc. (MCET) (see story, page 4). Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SOMX), the featured company this month in Neurotech Insights, was up over 90% as investors began to take note of its successful IPO last month (see story, page 7).

Boston Life Sciences (BLSI), which joined NeuroInsights recommended portfolio in October, also showed large gains this month as investors noticed the bargain valuation, still fairly low for a company with a late stage Parkinson’s diagnostic, a potential ADHD diagnostic, and several preclinical therapeutic leads. Cephalon (CEPH), which was featured in the December issue of Neurotech Insights, continued to dominate the news signing yet another settlement with a generic challenger to their fatigue treatment Provigil and announcing a delay in final FDA action on their ADHD treatment Sparlon. Acadia (ACAD), recommended in the September issue of Neurotech Insights was highlighted by Jim Cramer’s Mad Money who said the stock could go as high as $50 per share...

For more on waking up to insomnia market visit Neurotech Insights.

Also note the almost final speaker line up for the Neurotech Industry Conference. Download a brochure at neuroinsights.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NeuroInsights