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.
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Brain Waves

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March 29, 2006

Leading Regional Economic Neurotech Clusters

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Big economic payoffs will accrue to communities that successfully nurture the emerging ‘brain industry.’ The close collaboration of knowledge-intensive institutions, investors, businesses and workers fosters high-quality job creation, influx of investment capital and improved economic growth.

NeuroInsights.pngNeurotechnology represents the largest untapped medical market and numerous opportunities will be available to communities that leverage the dramatic growth of neurotechnology. Given the promise of new treatments, coupled with a patient population of over 1.5 billion people who suffer from a brain-related illness, neurotechnology has become the leading recipient of life science venture funding worldwide.

Neurotechnology is now truly a global industry with companies and cutting-edge research in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Neurotechnology, will play a major role in regional economic development in the coming decades. The global neurotechnology industry includes over 350 public and private companies researching, developing and marketing pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric illness.

Brain-related illness generates more healthcare related costs and lost income than any other therapeutic area: an estimated $1.0 trillion annually worldwide and $350 billion annually in the U.S. Neurotechnology companies face fundamentally different investment requirements, research and development challenges, regulatory milestones and social drivers that sets them apart from other life science and health care companies. For example, delivering therapeutics to the brain requires different technologies than is required for other organs such as the heart or kidney.

In addition to the race for discovering more effective neurotherapeutics, there is another race underway: one that will determine where the primary geographic locations of the neurotech industry reside and prosper. The economic outcomes of the formation and growth of these neurotechnology clusters will have long lasting implications on employment, infrastructure development, and regional competitiveness.

The 21st century neurotech nexus race has many regional entries in the U.S. and around the world. Seven of the ten leading neurotech clusters are in the U.S. The Greater San Francisco Bay area leads neurotechnology investment, research and product development, with Boston and San Diego in close second and third respectively. Other established and emerging nexus include London-Cambridge, Greater New York, Raleigh-Durham, LA-Irvine, Greater Philadelphia, Shanghai, and Stockholm. Each of these regions already has solid growth in the regional neurotech economy.

Given the massive unmet market for neurotechnology, several other regions are developing quickly that may challenge the dominance of today’s nexus’ over the next decade. These nascent nexus include: Munich (Germany), Montreal (Canada), Singapore, Tokyo (Japan), and Melbourne (Australia). These regions are less dependent on venture capital and benefit from proactive government and corporate investment which is fostering neurotech cluster development.

An excerpt from last years study, The Neurotech Nexus.

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

March 20, 2006

Michael Greenberg Selected for Annual McGovern Prize

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Michael Greenberg, a leading researcher at Childrens Hospital/Harvard Medical School, is the recipient of the McGovern Institute's third annual Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience, which recognizes an outstanding discovery or significant advance in the field of neuroscience.

mit_0603.gifDr. Greenberg, who directs the Program in Neurobiology within the Childrens Hospital/Harvard Medical School Department of Neurology, is widely regarded as a world leader in molecular neurobiology who has made seminal discoveries that have resulted in entirely new avenues of investigation in neural development and the search for new treatments or neurological disorders. Dr. Greenberg researches the mechanisms by which neurotrophic factors and neurotransmitters act through cell surface receptors to regulate transcriptional responses that are critical for nervous system development and function. Recently, he has been investigating the effects of extracellular factors and intracellular signaling pathways on the processes of axon guidance, cell fate determination, synaptic development, and neuronal survival within the developing and adult nervous system.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues

Columbia University Receives $200m for Neuroscience Research

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Columbia University announced today that it has received a record-setting $200 million gift that the school will use to establish a research center to study brain function, university leaders. The gift is the largest in Columbia's history. The donation was arranged by the widow of prominent alumnus Jerome L. Greene, who attended Columbia in the 1920s and went on to a career in law, real estate and philanthropy. The Jerome L. Greene Science Center will be dedicated to studying a range of disorders including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, autism and schizophrenia, Columbia President Lee Bollinger said. The center also will serve as an interdisciplinary hub of sorts - one that forges ties between areas of study ranging from law to arts to the hard sciences.

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

An Effortless Effort (Wu-wei)

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Posted by Zack Lynch

We all work hard at what we do, yet some of us seem to be continually moving forward with amazing ease while others appear to be fighting a daily grind. I am always searching for tools, ways to look at reality, through which I can obtain a higher level of continuous contentment in my never ending life-work. One perspective I've been working with lately comes from the Taoist concept of "effortless effort." A short piece in Fortune magazine last week summed it up amazingly well:

wuwei.jpegWu-wei (the state of effortless effort) describes a state in which the world seems to be working for us. We feel calm yet alert, focused yet receptive, drawing force from the storm while standing in its eye. Like the marathoner who feels pulled forward, we accomplish the most with the minimum of energy. In this state hard work does not feel like hard labor. Nor does it feel like play. It feels a lot like the Aristotelian concept of doing. Edison and his researchers felt it at Menlo Park. They didn't get much sleep, but many would later look back at the periods as the happiest of their lives. "There is no substitute for hard work," Edison said. And indeed, we go rotten without it.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues

March 16, 2006

Make Up Your Own NeuroWord

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Check out the blog Neurofuture. It is running a contest for Brain Awareness Week on who can come up with the most interesting 'neuroword':

What's a neuroword? One of the contest entries defines it: "neurologism: a word created by prefixing "neuro" to almost any normal word" Leave a comment with your word, definition, and contact info:

20202.jpgLike the neuroword neurosong? Those are both neologisms I coined. With the proliferation of relatively new terms like neuroethics, neuroaesthetics, neuromarketing, neuroeconomics, neurophilosophy, and many more, it's easy to get swept up in the neurohype and be a little creative. For me it started with a sci fi series I wrote and titled Neuropunk. When I discovered the name was already in use (it's also a bad title because it's too similar to cyberpunk and that grand neuroword, William Gibson's Neuromancer) I came up with a bunch more and haven't stopped since.

My words: Neurosociety, neuroceutical, neurocompetitive advantage, neurowar and neurotechnology.

Comments (12) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurosociety

March 15, 2006

N Stands for Neurotech Company - 65 of Them

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Posted by Zack Lynch

NeuroInsights is nearly finished with the 2006 update of The Neurotechnology Industry Report. Along with new information on sector revenues, venture capital activity, clinical trial information, etc., we have included nearly 100 new neurotech companies this year. I was a bit surprised at how many companies start with 'N' and even more so, how many begin with 'neuro'. While I am nearly positive that this is the most comprehensive list of neurotech companies in existance, let me know if you know of any that I may have missed.

I've added links for EVERY company so you can explore the range of companies who are developing the next generation of treatments for neurological and psychiatric illnesses like Alzheimer’s, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, pain, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, stroke, vision loss and other brain-related illnesses.

Nastech Pharmaceutical
NDI Medical
Neural Signals, Inc.
Neural Intervention Technologies
Neuraxo Biotec GmbH
Neuren Pharmaceuticals Limited
Neurion Pharmaceuticals
Neuro Kinetics
Neurobiological Technologies
NeuroBionics Corp.
NeuroControl Corp.
Neurocrine Biosciences
NeuroCure, Ltd.
Neurodan A/S
Neurogen Corp.
Neurognostics, Inc.
NeuroHealing Pharmaceuticals
NeuroLogic, Inc.
NeuroMed Technologies
Neuromolecular Pharmaceuticals
NeuroNexus Technologies
Neuronz, Ltd.
Neuropharma SA
Neurosurvival Technologies Ltd.
Neurotrophic Bioscience
New River Pharmaceuticals
Newron Pharmaceuticals
Nicolet Biomedical
Nihon Kohden
Northstar Neuroscience
Novasite Pharmaceuticals
NPS Pharmaceuticals
NuPathe Inc.
Nymox Corporation
Nyxis Neurotherapies

The rest of the alphabet will be out in the report due April 3rd and/or you can hear from some of them at the Neurotech Industry Conference May 18th.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurotech Industry

March 10, 2006

Brain Awareness Week 2006 March 13-19th

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Posted by Zack Lynch

bawlogo_sm.jpgBrain Awareness Week is an international effort organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to advance public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. The Dana Alliance is joined in the campaign by partners in the United States and around the world, including medical and research organizations; patient advocacy groups; the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies; service groups; hospitals and universities; K-12 schools; and professional organizations. Visit for more information on how to become involved. Last year Brain Awareness Week was celebrated in 57 countries. How many will it be this year?

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues

March 6, 2006

Snow Boarding Helmets Reduce Brain Injury By 60%

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Posted by Zack Lynch

If you ski or snow board you should get yourself a helmet. Alpine skiers and snowboarders who wear a helmet have a reduced risk of head injury, according to a study in the February 22 issue of JAMA.

Alpine skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed by several hundred million people worldwide. However, the injury risk is high, and head injuries are common in alpine skiers and snowboarders, according to background information in the article. Head injury is the most frequent reason for hospital admission and the most common cause of death among skiers and snowboarders with an 8 percent fatality rate among those admitted to hospital with head injuries. Helmet use is typically not mandatory and usage is generally low among recreational skiers and snowboarders. Although using a helmet is assumed to reduce the risk of head injuries in alpine sports, this effect is not certain.

gear-guys_1888_2725033.gifSteinar Sulheim, M.D., of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway, and colleagues examined the association between helmet use and risk of head injury among skiers and snowboarders. Of the 3,277 individuals with injuries, 578 (17.6 percent) had head injuries. The researchers found that "using a helmet was associated with a 60 percent reduction in the risk for head injury" when comparing skiers with head injuries with uninjured controls. Use of a helmet was also associated with a 57 percent reduced risk for a potentially severe head injury. The risk for head injury was 53 percent higher among snowboarders than for alpine skiers. There also was a trend toward a lower risk for neck injuries with helmet wear.

jump_thumb.jpg"Our analysis identified beginners, male sex, youth, and snowboarders as groups with increased risk of head injuries but also showed that the protective effect of helmet use is consistent across groups," the authors write.

I just bought a helmut from Bern the other day and it made boarding Squaw Valley even more enjoyable.

Via neuroskills

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: X-tra

National Institute of Mental Health Update

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues

March 1, 2006

Last Day to Save $400, Neurotech Industry Conference

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Posted by Zack Lynch

For those of you who are planning on attending the Neurotech Industry Investing and Business Conference in SF on May 18th, but haven't signed up yet, today is the last day to save $400 for early registration. Visit for more information and to register.

• Discover emerging products and neurotech companies
• Learn who is investing in neurotech and why
• Learn in what markets devices are competing with pharma
• Hear how brain imaging and informatics are impacting drug development
• Learn what venture and strategic investors are looking for
• Find out about new licensing and partnering opportunities
• Learn about translational research & funding opportunities

Hear about next generation treatments for Alzheimer’s, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, stroke and other brain-related illnesses.

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