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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 28, 2007

Neurotech Job Board Launched by NIO

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Posted by Zack Lynch

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The Neurotechnology Industry Organization has launched a Neurotech Job Board dedicated to commercial neuroscience (drugs, devices and diagnostics). There are currently over 150 neurotech job listings from over 50 companies across 3 continents.

The Neurotech Job Board is open to all companies involved in neuroscience worldwide and is completely free to use. It the place where employees with industry experience and a neuroscience focus look for jobs like:

- Senior Director Research, Discovery Medicine - Neuroscience
- Neuromodulation Senior Scientist
- CNS Director of Clinical Operations
- Senior Neurological Regulatory Affairs Specialist
- CNS Biology Specialist
- Director, New Product Planning, CNS

Stay competitive and post your company's employment opportunities.Please alert your colleagues and your HR team to this new industry resource.

The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) is the trade association representing companies involved in commercial neuroscience (drugs, devices and diagnostics), brain research centers, and advocacy groups across the world. NIO was founded in August 2006 and has attracted over fifty members in our first year.

Visit us at booth 4311 at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, November 4-7.

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

August 21, 2007

Good, Better, Best: The Human Quest for Enhancement

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Posted by Zack Lynch

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In June of 2006 I participated in a two day workshop on the future of human enhancement sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in DC. At long last, the report of the human enhancement workshop is now posted on the web. It's a very well documented 20 page piece that summarizes the group’s deliberations (about 40 experts). The first section is an overview of what constitutes human enhancement (HE). The second part examines the possible impact of HE on different sectors of society. The final section identifies potential next steps AAAS might take in the emerging debates on HE.

I was particularly pleased to see that the workshop organizers picked up on a theme/meme on "neuroenablement" I've been trying to get into the broader therapy/enhancement discourse.

The line between therapy or restoration and enhancement is another piece of ongoing debates about HE. After noting at the workshop that the line between therapy and enhancement is particularly faint and subjective, Zack Lynch, managing director of NeuroInsights, recommended the term “enablement” as a replacement for the current buzz-word “enhancement.” He believes the term enhancement is already politically charged in both its meaning and use among science policy players. He sees no hard line between “therapy” and “enhancement”; instead, there is a range of capacities already in normal distribution among the population, and enablement refers to maximizing each person’s latent potential. While these arguments are explored in greater detail later in this essay, this report will utilize the more familiar term of “enhancement.”

Slowly, enablement is leaking into more discussions.

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

August 13, 2007

NeuroMatrix - A New Video Game that Teaches Kids About the Brain

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Neuromatrix is an NIH-funded video game developed to teach children about their brains.

In the game, you play a secret agent infiltrating a top-secret neuroscience research facility. Your mission: to track down and root out the Nanobots that have invaded the brains of the scientists there. If you fail, the Nanobots and the secret entity that spawned them will take over the Earth, reprogramming the human brain into docile submission.

The game was developed by Morphonix and is recommended for kids age 10-15. Morphonix is the only company that develops video games which make abstract concepts of brain science fun and comprehensible to children and teens. Many software games spur kids to use their brains, but this is the first series of video games which also teaches children the science of their brains. Morphonix games include Journey Into the Brain, an award winning game for children ages 7-11, and Neuromatrix, a real-time 3D game for 11-14 year-olds. Every Body Has a Brain, for ages 4-6, was recently funded.

I know what I am getting all the kids in my life for the holidays this year.

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

August 7, 2007

NIO Redesigns Logo, Launches new Website

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Posted by Zack Lynch

I've been spending some time redesigning the website for the Neurotechnology Industry Organization including a new logo. Hope everyone enjoys it.

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

August 6, 2007

The Neuro-Journalism Mill, Separating Wheat from Chaff

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Posted by Zack Lynch

wheat-small-square.JPG.jpg The Neuro-Journalism Mill is a relatively new blog dedicated to sifting the wheat from the chaff in popular media reporting about news related to the brain. In Wheat, they highlight articles and news stories that make a superior effort to "get it right". By "getting it right" they do not mean just getting the basic facts correct - they mean covering brain science with a high degree of integrity, sensitivity, and sophistication so that the reader is genuinely informed. To be considered Chaff, the article must demonstrate one (or more than one) of the following flaws: (1) seriously misrepresents the original science (2) covers research of dubious value (3) wildly extrapolates the reported findings (4) presents an overly simplistic interpretation of a complex finding. Right now, the chaff outweighs, wheat 10 to 1. Recent wheat grades go to these articles appearing in the popular press: The gregarious brain; Duped: can brain scans uncover lies?; and Neural Diversity.

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

Free Online Neuropsychopharmacology Textbook

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Posted by Zack Lynch

The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology has just put a massive 134 chapter textbook online covering everything from neurotransmitters to functional imaging in psychiatry, all with free access. (Pointer, Neuroethics and Law, MindHacks).

Correction 8/7: Turns out that this book is published periodically, and that this version was published in 2002. Thanks Mike for the pointer.

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

August 2, 2007

NSF Goes Neurotech

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Posted by Zack Lynch

The National Science Foundation has established the Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI). The EFRI office is launching a new funding opportunity for interdisciplinary teams (engineers and neuroscientists) in the following area Cognitive Optimization and Prediction: From Neural Systems to Neurotechnology.

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

Consciousness Restored to Man After Six Years with Deep Brain Stimulation!

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Posted by Zack Lynch

BrainStimulation.jpgThis is an incredible story of hope reported in Nature this week which describes how neuroscientists implanted electrodes in the brain of a 38-year-old man who had been in a minimally conscious state for more than six years following a serious assault. By electrically stimulating a brain region called the central thalamus, they were able to help him name objects on request, make precise hand gestures, and chew food without the aid of a feeding tube. The thalamus is involved in motor control, arousal and in relaying sensory signals — from the visual systems, for example — to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain involved in consciousness.

"The work challenges the existing practice of early treatment discontinuation for this patient population and also changes the approach to assessment and evaluation of the minimally-conscious state patient," said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, one of the study's authors. Joseph T. Giacino, Ph.D., of the New Jersey Neursoscience Institute, in Edison, a co-author, said that "prior to the use of deep brain stimulation, the patient's communication ability was inconsistent, including only slight eye or finger movements. Now, he regularly uses words and gestures and responds to questions quickly."

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