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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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August 30, 2006

The Naked Brain and the Naked Truth About the Neurosociety

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Posted by Zack Lynch

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have been writing (and rewriting) a book titled Our Emerging Neurosociety: How Brain Science Is Shaping Business, Politics and Culture. Over the past four years, I've published articles in academic journals, given numerous interviews and traveled the world speaking at conferences about the socio-political implications of neurotechnologies.

So, I was very, very suprised recently when I ran across a book to be published in September with an eerily similiar title (The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love) and later chapter content (according to information at the Library of Congress). While I hate to give blog space and increased attention to this author, I felt I had to say something here if only to mitigate confusion. The truth is, at first, I was outraged at being ripped off - whether by author, publisher, or editor I do not know. After some time for reflection, I am torn because I coined the term 'neurosociety' with the sole purpose of creating a sensible 'meme' that might capture the popular imagination and help galvanize a conversation around the profound social implications that neurotechnology represents for humanity. Having "neurosociety" in the book title represents a win for the concept but unfortunately the narrow breadth of issues covered in this book which appears to be told from an academic perspective doesn't do the 'neurosociety' justice. So it's a win for brand, but loss on the content.

To set the record straight on the web, I've taken the neurosociety domains that I had been reserving for my book and used them to explore some of the highlights of the neurosociety. For those of you waiting on my book, I can only say that it is still a work in process but that it will be worth it. Lastly, a warning to bloggers, watch out for your intellectual property.

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurosociety

August 24, 2006

Neurotechnology Industry Organization Introduced

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Posted by Zack Lynch

The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) is a new trade association representing a broad spectrum of neurotechnology companies (drugs, devices and diagnostics), brain research centers and brain-illness advocacy groups across the United States and the world.

NIO's mission is to accelerate cures for brain and nervous system diseases by:

- Promoting the neurotechnology industry's progress & contributions to quality of life
- Advocating the neurotech industry's position to regulators and elected officials
- Providing effective business development services to members

NIO's programs increase awareness of neurotechnologies, reduce barriers to investment and innovation and support intelligent long-term growth of the industry.

Why the Neurotechnology Industry Organization now?

nio%20png.pngNeurotechnology companies face fundamentally different investment requirements, research and development challenges, and regulatory milestones than other life science and healthcare companies. The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) was formed to help governments, patients, and companies understand the benefits of neurotech products and the unique needs of this industry.

Learn about the Founder's Circle membership opportunity.

Over 1.5 billion people worldwide and nearly 100 million Americans suffer from a brain or nervous system illness. In addition to untold human suffering, the annual economic burden has reached over $1 trillion dollars worldwide with $300 billion a year in the U.S alone. This burden is accelerating as the population ages and population increases. These factors are creating unprecedented demand for treatments that delay, prevent and cure chronic neurological and psychiatric diseases.

The neurotechnology industry includes companies researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric illnesses including: Alzheimer's, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, stroke and more. Together these diseases represent more than 30% of the total burden of disease in established market economies.

Converging technological breakthroughs across a wide variety of industries including biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology are now making it possible to develop radically new treatments for unmet medical needs.

Despite the clear human need and significant global market opportunity, neurotechnology companies face a host of issues that stifle innovation, growth and the rapid delivery of more effective therapies. NIO was formed to provide commercial neuroscience organizations a collective voice to address these issues.

Please visit the Neurotechnology Industry Organization website for more information. NIO is currently accepting members to the visionary Founder's Circle and will be formally launching the organization later this fall at the Society for Neuroscience conference. Contact me through NIO if you are interested in membership.

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

August 15, 2006

Cutting Edge Gov't Brain Research

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Posted by Zack Lynch

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

Excellent Brain Humor From the Onion

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Too good not to share...(worth clicking through for the picture):

Area Man Calls For Immediate Release Of His Endorphins

July 31, 2006 | Issue 42/31

larson_funny_1.gifTALLAHASSEE, FL-With tensions already at an all-time high, the nearly 96-hour standoff between area resident Anthony Shepard and his hypothalamus came to a head Monday when the 32-year-old called for the immediate release of all endorphins back into his bloodstream.

Shepard says he refuses to negotiate and demands an end to all hostilities.

While motivations behind the assault remain unclear, it now appears that Shepard's hypothalamus seized control of his nervous, limbic, and endocrine systems late Thursday night, killing several innocent physical desires such as appetite and sexual drive in the ensuing synaptic fire.

"Earlier this week, events took place between my cerebrum's temporal lobes that can only be described as criminal," said Shepard, who told reporters he was first saddened, then angered, abruptly overjoyed, and saddened again to hear about the complete deregulation of his emotions. "To the nefarious gland responsible for this cowardly act, I know you can hear me. I demand, in no uncertain terms, that you
surrender and cease all hostilities at once."

"We have you completely surrounded," Shepard added.Read the rest here


If you need another laugh read this piece about how Major League Baseball disciplinary officials announced that Ozzie Guillen would be fined $10,000 and ordered to undergo sensitivity psychoanalysis for the "irresponsible, offensive, and completely unacceptable" thoughts that passed through the White Sox manager's mind during Wednesday night's game...more cognitive liberty humor.

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

August 10, 2006

Goal! Neurofeedback Scores a Victory

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Posted by Zack Lynch

From Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2006:

"Members of Italy's World Cup-winning soccer team have done it. A starting quarterback in the NFL has tried it out. And so has Jordan Kreuter, an 18-year-old golfer in North Carolina.

The thing they have in common: They've all turned to neurofeedback, a technique that promises to help athletes reprogram their brains so they can reach a zone of relaxed concentration during clutch situations.

Long used to treat medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy and dementia, it is beginning to emerge as a tool for pro and amateur athletes alike -- with neurofeedback machines even starting to show up at some local public golf courses. Several members of Italy's World Cup-winning team, including Andrea Pirlo, second from lower left, did extensive neurofeedback in the runup to the tournament.

2006-07-09T205752Z_01_NOOTR_RTRIDSP_2_OUKTP-UK-SOCCER-WORLD-FINAL.jpgThis technique is bringing some science to the mental side of athletics, a field also known as sports psychology, which has often been derided by many players and trainers as hokum. In neurofeedback, athletes strap on electrodes that measure brainwaves. They then try to learn how to control spikes in those brainwaves, which may signify distractions going on inside their heads, such as obsessing about a past performance. Critics say it's one thing to be able to manipulate a bunch of lines moving across a screen, but it's another to remain perfectly calm as a fastball zooms toward you at 100 miles per hour or network cameras hover over your par putt."

Over the past year, nearly a half dozen new neurofeedback companies have emerged from the innovation wood work to introduce themselves to NeuroInsights. It's been interesting to hear about their strategies, and has solidified my thought that this is a space to watch, especially when the financiers figure out how to leverage the neurotechnology to trade more effectively.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurodiagnostics

August 9, 2006

The Female Brain Live

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Earlier this year I previewed the release of Dr. Louann Brizendine's book "The Female Brain" (here) which explains how the female brain works, what women are thinking, and the difference in the way they process thoughts compared with the way men do. The book is finally available. Follow this link to a recent five minute video interview of the author on ABC News (warning, there is a 15 second commercial before her interview begins). If you are interested in reading a bit of the book before you buy it, then follow this link to read a complimentary chapter and find out why a woman uses about 20,000 words a day while a man uses about 7,000.

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

August 8, 2006

Trust, Happiness and Societal Development

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Posted by Zack Lynch

A common critique of laboratory experiments is that they don't scale up to the "real world". However, in a new paper from neuroeconomist Paul Zak and Ahlam Fakhar shows that their work work on oxytocin does not face this critique. Here is a summary of the work:

The major finding is that factors that raise overall levels of oxytocin and/or estrogens (which increase oxytocin uptake) affect country-level measures of trust. Most prominently, these include the consumption of healthy foods (especially vegetables and fruits), clean environments, and some social behaviors. These are independent of the economic and legal factors that support trust and therefore provide a new rationale for governments and NGOs seeking provide healthier environments in developing countries: raising trust stimulates economic growth. Lastly, the strongest factor by far associated with a country's level of trust is...self-reported happiness. While the causation is likely bidirectional, we now know that trusting people are happier.

Paul Zak continues to produce some of the most important neuroeconomic work in the area of how to develop social capital leveraging the latest neuroscientific advances. The paper described above will soon appear in the journal Economics and Human Biology with the title "Neuroactive Hormones and Interpersonal Trust: International Evidence."

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroeconomics

August 1, 2006

Neurotech Insights - Epilepsy Issue

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Posted by Zack Lynch

In case you wonder why I don't blog every day, here is an overview of this month's Neurotech Insights which has a special focus on emerging treatments for epilepsy.

Emerging Epilepsy Treatments: Each month Neurotech Insights provides an in-depth review of a specific brain-related illness. This month we focus on Epilepsy, reviewing the different types of epilepsy, current treatments, and therapies in the pipeline. Drugs and devices covered in this article include those from D-Pharm, Teva, Abbott, Novartis, NeuroSearch, Valeant, GSK, UCB, Eisai, Cyberonics, Neuropace and more...

JULY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
* Prana Biotechnology's (PRNA) stock price nearly doubled on speculation that its PBT2 compound has potential to treat Alzheimer's disease. >>>
* Northstar Neuroscience (NSTR) was up 28% after completing enrollment in their cortical stimulation study to promote neuroplasticity following stroke and signing an agreement with AMI Semiconductor.
* Several private companies closed large financings including obesity device maker, Enteromedics with a $45 million Series C and Prestwick Pharmaceuticals with a $60 million Series C.

For 18 additional stories from this month's Neurotech Insights click here.

CNS Product & Clinical Trial Updates
* Acadia (ACAD) Announces Encouraging Results for Schizophrenia
* Shinogi Gets Favorable Phase II Results in Obesity
* Myriad (MYGN.O) Says Flurizan Alzheimer's Study Positive

200_Neurotech_Insights_July_31_2006_Epilepsy_Page_01_web.jpgFor more details and updates on TorreyPines Therapeutics, Shire (SHPGY), Astellas, AstraZeneca (AZN), Neuro-HiTech, Somaxon (SOMX), Amarin (AMRN), and more click here.

Deals, Alliances, & Financings
* Evotec and Roche Form CNS Alliance
* Athenagen and Zapaq Agree on Merger
* Northstar (NSTR) to work with AMI Semiconductor
* Memory (MEMY) Hits Roche Milestone

For more stories on Enteromedics, Lilly (LLY), Alcon (ACL), Neuromed, Prestwick Pharmaceuticals and others click here.

Featured Company: NeuroSearch A/S

In our monthly CEO interview series, we check in with NeuroSearch's CEO Flemming Pedersen to get an insider perspective on the Danish company's in-house product development programs.

Public Neurotech Index

As of July 31st, the Neurotech Index, which was started Dec 31, 2003, is up 42%, compared to respective gains of 15% and 4% for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite Index. The Neurotech Index is also outpacing the NASDAQ Biotech Index, another life-sciences-oriented measure of the public markets, which has gained only 1% during the same period.

Subscribe to Neurotech Insights

Neurotech Insights is published by NeuroInsights on the last day of each month, and provides in depth feature articles, private company news, product development tracking, executive interviews, and public stock commentary based on a deep and intimate understanding of the commercial neuroscience industry players and products. Neurotech Insights provides the most relevant competitive intelligence on the neurotechnology industry covering recent advances in drugs, devices and diagnostics for brain and nervous system illnesses. Save over 25% on each issue by ordering a 12 month subscription. Subscribe to Neurotech Insights today.

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