In Porfolio magazine, David Ewing-Duncan wrote a meaty feature on the neurotechnology industry, the big business behind new mind drugs, neuroprosthetic implants, and other efforts to fix broken brains and even augment healthy ones. (Duncan is the author of The Geneticist Who Played Hoops With My DNA
.) The online version of the article is accompanied by a terrific interactive feature looking at research in the field. From The Duncan's article, titled The Ultimate Cure:
These firms are trying to adapt groundbreaking research into the basic workings of the brain to new drugs for ailments ranging from insomnia to multiple sclerosis. Some companies are trying to regrow portions of the brain using stem cells. Others have developed implants to insert into a person’s head to control seizures and restore hearing. CyberÂkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, a Foxborough, Massachusetts, company, implanted electrodes into the brain of a quadriplegic that allowed him to operate machines with his thoughts...
Neurotech’s returns are already enormous. In 2006, the industry brought in more than $120 billion–about $101 billion from drugs and the rest from neurodevices ($4.5 billion) and neurodiagnostics ($15 billion)–up 10 percent from the previous year, reports NeuroInsights, a market research and investment advisory firm. But industry analysts insist that this figure hardly begins to suggest the potential. For AlzÂheimer’s, a disease currently without an effective treatment for about 4.5 million sufferers in the U.S., 40 companies–including behemoths like Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, and Wyeth, as well as Targacept and a gaggle of similar upstarts–are testing 48 new drugs in human trials in a quest for the Prozac of dementia. The push has brought many small to midsize biotech firms together in partnerships with larger pharmaceutical companies to pursue everything from pain-control compounds derived from chili peppers to an antistroke medicine developed from vampire-bat saliva. There is so much activity in neurotech that last fall it got its own index, NERV, on the Nasdaq, tracking the performance of 30 leading brain companies based in the United States. Analysts estimate that the sector should continue to grow by about 10 percent a year, which would produce a brain-industrial complex worth more than $300 billion in the next 10 years.
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]