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

Monthly Archives

September 27, 2006

Brain Fitness Software Market Sprouts Wings

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Spurred by the discovery of neuroplasticity, the aging baby boomer population and demand for safe interventions for childhood ADHD, software companies, large and small, are venturing into the realm of therapy and cognitive fitness. Venture investors are drawn by the potential of the large markets, lack of FDA involvement, and scalability of the software model.


Covering this emerging market is a new blog SharpBrains: Your Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution. Recent posts include the basic jargon of the cognitive fitness movement, a look at science behind brain fitness, an interview with an expert in working memory, and a post on the neuroscience of leadership that has a host of informative links. If you are interested in staying up to speed on the market or just want to check out the latest in brain exercises, I recommend taking a look at SharpBrains.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: VC for Neurotech

September 25, 2006

NIO Volunteers Needed for SFN Conference May 14-18

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Just do it.

If you plan on attending the Society for Neuroscience Conference in Atlanta May 14-18 and would like to contribute a few hours (3-4) at the Neurotechnology Industry Organization's exhibition booth, we'd greatly appreciate it.

As a new non-profit, we can offer you an exhibitor pass (if you don't already have a pass), a way to learn more about NIO (I'll give you a personal tutorial on NIO), and the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals interested in giving commercial neuroscience organizations a unified voice to help accelerate the cures for brain and nervous system diseases.

Exhibits are open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday (May 14-18). Pick a morning or afternoon on any day and then send me an email at zack (at) We'll make sure you are prepared. Please look at this as something that will be fun, interesting and relaxing. This offer is open to all individuals. Thanks for your support.

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

September 19, 2006

Staglin 2006 - $3.8M Raised at 12th Music Festival for Mental Health in Napa

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Posted by Zack Lynch


This past weekend the Staglin's raised a record $3.8 Million for mental health research. The money amount raised doubles 2005 net, bringing total raised to date to almost $32 Million. More than 500 donors roared their approval when Garen and Shari announced that Peter T. Paul, of Paul Financial Corporation was announced as the Festival's first Million Dollar Supporter.

”Research progress is accelerating through cooperation and communication among scientists around the world,” said Garen Staglin. “With everyone’s continued support, we are committed to finding the causes and cures for mental disorders in our lifetime,” added Staglin. The program began with an open-to-the-public scientific symposium at which Dr. Daniel Weinberger, M.D., of George Washington University and the NIMH, focused on issues relating to physiological brain disorders, the current state of research and the promises of the future. The presentation was taped in high definition, and will be available for viewing via web cast at

At the conclusion of his lecture, Dr. Weinberger was joined on stage by Shari and Garen Staglin to present the 2nd Annual $250,000 Staglin Family/NARSAD Schizophrenia “Rising Star” research award to Dr. Eva Anton, from the University of North Carolina who is investigating how the gene NRG-1 guides the young brain in growing its cell structures, and how malfunctions in this guidance may form a basic cause of schizophrenia.

For previous years highlights see 2005, 2004 and 2003.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Brain Foundations

September 18, 2006

Neurotechnology Conferences Fall 2006

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Here are several upcoming neurotechnology conferences:

- 6th Annual Neurotech Leaders Forum, September 28-29, San Francisco. If want to stay on the cutting edge of advancements in neurodevices, then don't miss Cavuoto's conference now in its' sixth year.

- Neuroscience 2006, October 14-18, Atlanta, GA. With over 30,000 people in attendance this is the largest neuroscience gathering on the planet. Note: The Neurotechnology Industry Organization will be launching at this event and is seeking volunteers to help staff the exhibit booth. If you would like to donate 3-4 hours please contact me. Students, researchers or representatives from NIO member organizations very welcome.

- Neuroscience Medical Innovations Summit, November 6-8, Cleveland, OH. Each year the Cleveland Clinic puts on a brilliant conference and this year they are focusing on commercial neuroscience. NIO will have an exhibition booth at this event.

Lastly, for those who like to plan ahead, early bird registration is now open for the Neurotech Industry Investing and Business conference on May 17-18, 2007 in San Francisco.

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

September 12, 2006

'God Net' Not 'God Spot' Says Latest Neurotheological Experiment

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Why do different gods exist? Why do certain tribes subscribe to one god over another or even to many gods? Can neurotechnology help us better understand our relationship to our belief in higher powers?

Until recently, religion and spirituality were deemed as cultural, a product of social conditioning, and not biological. Religious beliefs and spirituality was the 'playing field' for theologists and philosophers, not biologists and scientists. Many scientists were skeptical and unwilling to consider the spiritual as science.

cover-leary-brain-god2-1579510523.jpgNow neurotheological researchers around the globe are examining what specifically happens within the brain when a person has a “religious” or “spiritual” experience. The latest controversy revolves around whether or not there is a 'God Spot', a singular spiritual center in the brain, a module of neural circuits specifically designed for religious experience.

Speculation about the God Spot was triggered in 1997 when a team at the University of California, San Diego, saw that people with temporal-lobe epilepsy were prone to religious hallucinations which lead some researchers to stimulate temporal lobes artificially to see if he could induce a religious state. They found that this could create a "sensed presence".

However, recently a group of Carmelite nuns have been assisting scientists in their quest to discover a circuit of nerves in the brain to explain man’s almost universal belief in a deity. As part of their research they found no God Spot. "The God module, as some scientists call it, is a mirage," according to the study by Dr Mario Beauregard of the Department of Psychology at the Université de Montréal published in the journal Neuroscience Letters.

"The main goal of the study was to identify the neural correlates of a mystical experience," said Dr. Beauregard. The study demonstrated that a dozen different regions of the brain are activated during a mystical experience. In other words, mystical experiences are mediated by several brain regions and systems normally implicated in functions such as self-consciousness, emotion and body representation.

Bottom line: We have a "God Net" not a "God Spot." So what will be next? Perhaps, a spotted God net?

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurosociety

September 8, 2006

Latest NIMH Research Updates

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Posted by Zack Lynch

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

September 5, 2006

Neurosociety Policy Issues (2005-2035)

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Heads up on a 20-page chapter I wrote titled, "Neuropolicy (2005-2035): Converging Technologies Enable Neurotechnology, Creating New Ethical Dilemmas" that was recently published in the book "Managing Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno Innovations: Converging Technologies in Society." The book was edited by NBIC advocates William Sims Brainbridge and Mike Roco and was pubished on May 30th, 2006 by Kluwer Academic Press.

Here is the chapter abstract:

"A historical model of techno-economic change with socio-political adjustments is used to illuminate how neurotechnology will influence human society in the next three decades. The impact of neurotechnology in the financial sector is discussed with an overview of how the European Union and the United States are responding to the political and ethical issues that arise from advanced neurotechnology. The development of neurotechnology, tools that analyze and influence the nervous systems, is being acclerated by NBIC technologies and will create new leading neurotech clusters."

Here is the book's table of contents:
1402041063.02._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpgProgressive convergence.- The emergence and policy implications of converging new technologies.- Roadmapping convergence.- NBIC convergent technologies and the innovation economy: challenges and opportunities for the 21st century.- Measuring the merger: examining the onset of converging technologies.- Collaboration on converging technologies: education and practice.- If we build it, will they come? The cultural challenges of cyberinfrastructure development.- Converging technologies in developing countries: passionate voices, fruitful actions.- Nanotechnology for biology and medicine.- Biologically-inspired cellular machine architectures.- Cognitive enhancement and the neuroethics of memory drugs.- Neuropolicy (2005-2035): converging technologies enables neurotechnology creating new ethical dilemmas.- Information technology and cognitive systems.- Cognitive technologies.- NBIC convergence and technology-business coevolution: towards a services science to increase productive capactity.- An ethic for enhancing human performance through integrative technologies.- Science confronts the law.- Human enhancement and the emergent technopolitics of the 21st century.- Co-evolution of social sciences and emerging technologies.- Appendix 1: Survey of NBIC applications.- Appendix 2: Information technology for convergence.- Appendix 3: Commercializing and managing the converging new technologies.

I recommend this book for the geeks among us who are seriously interested in where humanity is heading in the decades to come. If you are looking for fresh ideas this is an excellent resource. Here is a link to previous neuropolicy posts.

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

Neurotech Insights Highlights August 2006

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Posted by Zack Lynch

This month's issue took a bit more of my blogging time than usual and as you can see the neurotech markets didn't slow down in August.

Companies covered in this issue include: Acadia, Accera, Acumen, Aspect Medical, AstraZeneca, Athersys, Biogen-Idec, BrainCells, Bristol Myers Squibb, Epix, Evotec, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Intrapace, King, Mithridion, Mitsubishi Pharma, Nastech, Neurochem, Neuren, NeuroSonix, NeuroVasx, Northstar, Organon, Palatin, Predix, Pfizer, Reata, Rhinocyte, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, Thiakis, UCB Pharma, Wicab, Wyeth, and Zogenix.


August was a notable month for private neurotech companies with 11 companies pulling in over $180 million. Obesity continues to be a hot area for both drugs (see Thiakis, page 8) and devices (see Intrapace, page 7). A new company, Zogenix, formed to commercialize Aradigm’s Intraject needle free subcutaneous delivery technology in CNS and pain, closed the largest round in August with a $60 million Series A (see Zogenix, page 8). Neurochem (NRMX) reached new 52 week highs after announcing an approvable letter from the FDA for their experimental treatment for Amyloid A amyloidosis called Kiacta (eprodisate), formerly known as Fibrillex. Aspect Medical (ASPM) bounced back from a recent sell off after announcing plans to buyback 2 million shares of its stock...

200_Neurotech_Insights_August_31_2006_Anxiety_Page_01.jpgAnxiety disorders include panic disorder, phobic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PSD), acute stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and secondary anxiety due to drugs or illness. Anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric symptoms, yet it is often unrecognized and untreated. Symptoms can be vague and fleeting and patients are often embarrassed and prone to hiding their condition. Strong and persistent anxiety often results in self-medication and drug dependence. There are, however, effective treatments on the market and in the pipeline…

A new entity emerged on August 16 out of a merger of Epix Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Predix Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc. The new company trades on the Nasdaq Worldwide Markets under the EPIXD ticker. Its debut was well received by investors and the stock gained nearly 20% on its opening day. Predix brings a drug development arm focused on CNS disorders into the new entity...

CNS Product & Clinical Trial Updates
-Neuren Pharmaceuticals announces new neuroprotection lead
-Palatin and King show positive results in female sexual dysfunction
-Northstar to test neurodevice in depression
For more details and updates on Evotec, Athersys, Neurochem, Nastech Pharmaceuticals, UCB, Accera, Corcept, Genentech, Biogen and more click here.

Neurotech Index
Neurotech%20Index%20August%2006.jpgAs of August 31st, the Neurotech Index, which was started December 31, 2003, is up 50%, compared to respective gains of 17% and 9% 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 4% during the same period.

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