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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October 13, 2006

Neurotechnology Industry Organization Launched to Advance Treatments for Brain and Nervous System Illnesses

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Posted by Zack Lynch

(This press release was sent over the wire this morning. Please share.)

Neurotechnology Industry Organization Launched to Advance Treatments for Brain and Nervous System Illnesses

New Global Trade Association to Advocate for the Brain Industry

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (BUSINESS WIRE)– More than 20 leading pharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostic companies, along with major academic brain research centers and patient advocacy groups, have joined together to form a new trade association called the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO). Based in San Francisco, California, NIO is a non-profit group created to accelerate the development of treatments and cures for brain and nervous system diseases.

The $110 billion neurotechnology industry includes pharmaceuticals, biologics, cell-based therapeutics and medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment for critical unmet needs including: Alzheimer's, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, stroke and other brain-related illnesses.

“Despite the clear need and significant market opportunity, neurotechnology companies face a host of issues that stifle innovation, growth and rapid delivery of effective therapies. NIO will provide a collective voice for commercial neuroscience organizations to address these issues,” said Zack Lynch, Founder and Executive Director of the newly formed Neurotechnology Industry Organization. “We will kick off our first year with a global awareness campaign highlighting the industry’s progress and a public policy tour for members to interact with government officials.”

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 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 500 companies involved in commercial neuroscience face fundamentally different investment requirements, research and development challenges, and regulatory milestones than other life science and healthcare companies. NIO was created to help governments, patients, and the public understand the unique needs of the neurotech industry.

“We are delighted to be a founding member of NIO,” said J. Donald deBethizy, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Targacept, Inc. “We are pleased that this advocacy group has been formed to address the important issues of our industry.”

Founding member organizations span a broad spectrum of drug, device and diagnostic companies from across the world unified by common interests. They include: Acumen Pharmaceuticals (South San Francisco, CA), Amarin Corporation (London, England), Brain Resource Company (Sydney, Australia), Ceregene (San Diego, CA), Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc. (Boston, MA), NeuroPace (Mountain View, CA), NeuroNova AB (Stockholm, Sweden), Sound Pharmaceuticals (Seattle, WA), Targacept, Inc. (Winston-Salem, NC), and United Therapeutics (Silver Spring, MD); neuroscience research centers including: Allen Institute for Brain Science (Seattle, WA), Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (Morgantown, WV), McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT (Cambridge, MA), and the MIND Institute (Albuquerque, NM); patient advocacy groups and research foundations including: Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (New York, NY), Epilepsy Therapy Development Project (Reston, VA) and Neurotech Network (Tampa, FL); venture capital firms NeuroVentures (Charlottesville, VA) and Technology Partners (Palo Alto, CA); and strategic partner Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP (Washington, DC).


About the Neurotechnology Industry Organization

The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) is a non-profit trade association that represents a broad spectrum of companies involved in neurotechnology (drugs, devices and diagnostics), neuroscience research centers and brain disease 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, advocating the industry's position to government officials, and providing business development services to its members. For more information on the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, please visit

About the Neurotechnology Industry

The neurotechnology industry includes companies researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing pharmaceuticals, biologics, cell-based therapeutics and medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment for the treatment of brain and nervous system illnesses including: Alzheimer's, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, stroke and other brain-related illnesses. In 2005, neurotechnology companies generated over $110 billion in revenue, according to NeuroInsights.

Zack Lynch - zack(at)

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October 4, 2006

Stimulating an "Out of Body Experience"...Seriously

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Posted by Zack Lynch

In yesterday's NYTimes Sandra Blakeslee follows up on a topic I blogged on in January in "Is God in Your Brain? Neurotheology." In "Out-of-Body Experience? Your Brain Is to Blame" she writes:

"They are eerie sensations, more common than one might think: A man describes feeling a shadowy figure standing behind him, then turning around to find no one there. A woman feels herself leaving her body and floating in space, looking down on her corporeal self. Such experiences are often attributed by those who have them to paranormal forces.

But according to recent work by neuroscientists, they can be induced by delivering mild electric current to specific spots in the brain. In one woman, for example, a zap to a brain region called the angular gyrus resulted in a sensation that she was hanging from the ceiling, looking down at her body. In another woman, electrical current delivered to the angular gyrus produced an uncanny feeling that someone was behind her, intent on interfering with her actions (the electrodes were being implanted during epilepsy surgery).

'The research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence,'" said Dr. Peter Brugger, a neuroscientist not directly involved in the experiments."

front_temporal.jpgThis research has obvious implications for neurotheology, the study of the neurobiology of spiritual experiences which I have written about here, here, and here. I'm looking for researchers who are currently conducting new studies using TMS to stimulate OBE's. If you are one, or know of a researcher who is, please contact me for a story I'm writing.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurotheology

October 3, 2006

Map of Mouse Brain Revealed to World by Allen Institute

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Last week, the Allen Institute for Brain Science revealed a complete map of the mouse brain down to details of the individual cell. This was the first project of an institute funded by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul G. Allen.

The new Allen Brain Atlas is being made available online without cost to neuroscientists studying brain circuits and chemistry, a potential boon to cancer and other disease research because of similarities between the brains of mice and human beings.

mouse.jpgBecause more than 90 percent of the same genes are found in mice and humans, the mouse brain map can be compared with genetic findings related to human neurological disorders. Moreover, the mapping project has shown that 80 percent of the body's genes are switched on in the brain, compared with 60 percent to 70 percent in previous scientific estimates, said Chief Scientific Officer Allan Jones.

The next project will be to develop a digital, three-dimensional, interactive map of the genes at work in a human brain's neocortex, the outer layer that is the seat of higher thought and emotion, using brains from cadavers as well as tissue removed during brain surgeries.

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