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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May 26, 2006

Neurotech Conference Sessions Blogged

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Posted by Zack Lynch

For those of you who couldn't make it to the sold out Neurotech Industry Investing conference you might want to spend a few minutes over at the Eudaemon blog reading through these posts that Denise and Jeremy wrote that capture some of the conference sessions: Investing in Neurotech; Spinning Neurotech out the Lab; Corporate Partnering: Neurotech Industry Overview. Given the great response to the event we are planning on making the conference a two day event next year to provide more time for networking, additional speaker time and a few more cutting edge topics. If you have any suggestions I am always open to hearing from you.

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

Human Enhancement and Human Rights This Weekend

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Posted by Zack Lynch

hethr_sm.jpgWhat better way to spend part of your memorial day weekend than with many of the world's leading thinkers pondering ways to make it possible to legally expand your cognition. If you are in the Bay Area I recommend checking out the line up at Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference taking place at the Stanford University Law School, Stanford, California. The event is sponsored by Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences, Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. The line up looked so good, I decided to sign up. I'm hoping it will be provide me with some additional ideas for a talk I am giving next Friday in Washington DC on "Emerging Neurotechnologies for Human Enhancement" at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting on, what else, enhancement. For a full list of speakers and abstracts click here.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroethics

"Human on a Chip" Technology

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Posted by Zack Lynch

You've heard of "lab-on-a-chip" but what about "human-on-a-chip" technology. Cornell University scientists have created a microchip containing cells of human organ tissues they believe can substitute for using animals to test drugs. The "human-on-a-chip" mimics the body's physiology and is expected to identify drug dangers early in development, but it is not expected to replace all animal tests or extensive clinical trials, reports the Guardian. What's next "brain-on-a-chip"?

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Protein/Gene Chips

May 22, 2006

Technology Review Q&A on Neurotech

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Posted by Zack Lynch

I sat down with Emily Singer at Technology Review last week at the sold out neurotech industry conference for a brief discussion about the future of neurotechnology. Here is a bit of what was said.

Technology Review: Why neurotechnology?

Zack Lynch: Neuroscience is now moving from a science to an industry. What we're really looking at is an evolution: researchers are now going beyond basic science and developing more effective therapeutics for brain-related illnesses.

The need is huge. One in four people worldwide suffer from a brain-related illness, which costs a trillion dollars a year in indirect and direct economic costs. We all know someone who is affected. That burden will continue to grow with the aging population. We have more people, and more people living longer -- it's a multiplier effect.

TR: We're also starting to see a new kind of therapy for brain-related illnesses -- electrical stimulation. Various types of stimulation devices are now on the market to treat epilepsy, depression, and Parkinson's disease. What are some of the near- and far-term technologies we'll see with this kind of device?

ZL: We're seeing explosive growth in this area because scientists are overcoming many of the hurdles in this area. One example is longer battery life, so devices don't have to be surgically implanted every five years. Researchers are also developing much smaller devices. Advanced Bionics, for example, has a next-generation stimulator in trials for migraines.

In the neurodevice space, the obesity market is coming on strong. Several companies are working on this, including Medtronics and Leptos Biomedical. In obesity, even a small benefit is a breakthrough, because gastric bypass surgery [one of the most common treatments for morbid obesity] is so invasive.

In the next 10 years, I think we'll start to see a combination of technologies, like maybe a brain stimulator that releases L-dopa [a treatment for Parkinson's disease]. Whether that's viable is a whole other question, but that possibility is there because of the microelectronics revolution.

The real breakthrough will come from work on new electrodes. This will transform neurostimulator applications. With these technologies, you can create noninvasive devices and target very specific parts of the brain. It's like going from a Model T to a Ferrari. Those technologies will present the real competition for drugs.

More at Technology Review...

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Interviews/Press

May 12, 2006

Network With Over 100 Neurotech Leaders Next Week - Register Today

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Posted by Zack Lynch

If you wonder who is leading the neurotech revolution, you should definitely consider the organizations who are attending next week's Neurotech Industry Conference among them. The event is nearly sold out, so if you haven't signed up yet, I recommend you don't wait any longer.

Hear from investors, researchers and executives 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.


Aberdare Ventures, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, Accera, Inc., Accuitive Medical Ventures, Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Afferent Corporation, Alatheia, Ltd., Allen Brain Institute, Amarin Corporation, Argolyn Biosciences, Athenagen, Avigen, Bay City Capital, Biotechnology Value Fund, Brain Resource Company, BrainCells Inc., BrainVital Corporation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Center for Cognitive Liberty, Ceregene, Chevron Molecular Diamond Technologies, CNS Response, CoAxia, Confirma, Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Cytodome, Inc., De Novo Ventures, DNA Bridges, Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, Electrical Geodesics, GE Global Research Center, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Harvard Medical School, HealthPartners Research Foundation, Innovative Neurotechnologies, Intellectual Licensing Group, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Leptos Biomedical, Life Science Angels, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Limerick NeuroScience, Liverpool University, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MDS Capital, Medtronic, MIT Technology Review, Nascent Enterprises, Neuro HiTech Pharmaceuticals, NeuroInvestment, Neurologix, Neuronetics, NeuroNova, Neuroscience Institute at Stanford, Neurotech Reports, NeuroVentures Capital, New York Times, NIH/ NINDS, Nixon Peabody, LLP, Novartis, NsGene, Pequot Ventures, Pfizer, Point Biomedical, Predix Pharmaceuticals, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, Prospect Ventures, Purdue Research Foundation, Research Corporation Technology, Revere Data, Rinat Neuroscience, Saegis Pharmaceuticals, Sanderling, Science Futures, Sound Pharmaceuticals, Stanford University, Stem Cell Sciences, Stem Cells, Inc., Stryker, Takeda Research Investment, Targacept, Technology Partners, Tessera, Inc., The Foundry, University of California, San Francisco, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, VIASYS Healthcare, Wachovia Securities, Woodside Capital, Wyeth...

To register and for more information, please visit the NeuroInsights website at: or call (415) 229-3225.

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

May 9, 2006

Before the Brain Bomb...Should We Build or Ban Neuroweapons?

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Imagine it was 1935 and you were at a gathering that was exploring the geopolitical implications of developing the A-Bomb. Last week I was afforded the opportunity to spend several days with 30 others discussing and debating the implications of developing neuroweapons. The conference was sponsored by Sandia's Advanced Concepts Group and was hosted by ASU's Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. There is too much to cover in a blog and a paper will be forthcoming later this summer that summarizes the discussions.

targethead.jpgAs part of the discussion we explored different policy scenarios along the following lines:

In the literature on technologies intended to promote the development of human capabilities in general, four broad perspectives emerge that will have differing implications for legislation, regulation, and allocation of public resources.

1. Laissez-faire on cognitive enhancements. In this view, the emphasis is on the freedom of the individual to seek and employ technologies that he or she judges would benefit his or her self or family. By and large, market mechanisms can manage the risks, and government should play little or no role.

2. Managed cognitive enhancements. Technologies for human capability enhancements promise great benefits to individuals and to society, but a supportive government role is needed to foster research and development increase the fairness of distribution, to assure the effectiveness of the technologies, and to manage the risks.

3. Techno-skepticism. The risks both to individual well-being and to a fair and just society outweigh the promised benefits of these technologies. Commercial values and interests in profit are likely to override broader social interests. Negative unintended consequences are likely, and enhancement technologies should not be made available until net benefits can be demonstrated. The government emphasis should be on regulation and fairness, not promotion.

4. Cultural conservatism. Technologies that may restore disabled people to normal function may be acceptable, but attempts at “transhuman” enhancement of undiseased people threatens to violate God-given or evolved human nature and to undermine the values that make us human. Government should carefully restrict when and how these technologies are used.

Where do you find yourself?

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NeuroWave 2050

May 3, 2006

May 2, 2006

Mapping the Emotions of a City - Psychogeography Googlized

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Posted by Zack Lynch

rotter.jpgMindhack's dug up a very interesting use of using Google Earth to plot psychogeographic information about cities - or - emotion maps:

"By combining a hand-held global positioning system with a galvanic skin response sensor (that measures the sweatiness of your fingers), London-based artist Christian Nold has created a gadget that measures your arousal as you walk around. Superimposing the data onto your route, using something like Google Earth, allows you to see a kind of 'emotion map' for where you've been.

Nold has tested the device on over 300 people so far (his data is publicly available), and is looking for academic and commercial research partners to explore the project's potential."

(Picture of Rotterdam, England Emotion Map) I wonder how a bit of mind styling would shape an emotional mapping of NYC?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Culture & the Brain