The BIG Future: Brain Science and the Acceleration of Neurological Care


Just 10 years ago, I lost a very dear friend to the tragedy that is Alzheimer’s Disease.

I am defined by the hope that we might see this, and many other neurological and nervous systems conditions vanquished in the years to come as the result of the acceleration of the science of the brain. That’s the focus of this trend – we are busy trying to unlock the mysteries of the brain, the methodologies of the nervous system, and the science of mental care. It’s one of the BIGGEST of my BIG Future series.

The issue of Alzheimer’s, one of many neurological challenges society is faced with, is this:

In a healthy brain, the neural network is comprised of nerve cells, called synapses, that connect with one another and share electrical impulses. With Alzheimer’s, these synapses are lost in the neural network of a brain due to tangles located in the neurons and plaques, resulting in blocked connections.

The plaques, and the cells causing the biochemical reaction, are key factors in identifying Alzheimer’s in the brain.

“We need to find therapy options that do not aim to attack the brain, but instead attempt to protect synapses and work with our most important organ to safeguard what exists.

Key Neuroscience Insights to Better Understand the Alzheimer’s Brain from Yale University’s Dr. Stephen Strittmatter
9 July 2021, Contify Life Science News

Yet neuroscience – or brain science, for lack of a better term – is at an inflection point, where advances in technology and science are fertile ground for innovation to such a degree that we might see significant breakthroughs in how we better understand the disease, develop treatments and manage risk going forward. As I would often point out on stage, when it comes to the aging of society, which is but one element of this aspect of healthcare and health science:

“One of the most significant challenges of our time has to do with seniors care – but there is a chance that what we did with heart health in the 20th century, we can repeat with brain health in the 21st century.”

Kurt Steube

My father-in-law — affectionately known as “Opa” both to myself and his grandsons, lost a struggle in 2012 as the result of a broken hip, combined with complications from Alzheimer’s.

33 years ago, when I first met him, he welcomed me into his life. He took me in, always cared for me, and we had wonderful conversations. He was a deeply intelligent man. That’s the tragedy of Alzheimer’s — a disease that is looming as one of the biggest tragedies of our time. With this disease, it is all too easy to remember the person for the time that “just was” — rather than for the time that was “before.”

Before the onset of the disease, “Opa” and I would have delightful conversations — about world politics, technology, business, and society. He had a mind that was sharp, in tune, and that was very much engaged. And what was remarkable was that his career did not allow him to utilize his insight and intelligence as much as he could have. He had immigrated from Germany in the early 1950s; as such, with limited English skills to start, he spent much of his working life doing honest, diligent work — but which involved manual labor. For over 30 years, he worked for General Motors. He was proud of who he was, and what he had accomplished, and thrived in the love of his wife Susanne (“Oma”), his daughters Christa and Heidie, and his grandkids. But I always had a sense that he had hoped to do more with his life.

I do think he did quite enough, and take pride in having known him.

Ironically, the day that Opa died, was also the day that I was fortunate enough to be the opening keynote speaker, in Dallas, for the Chronic Disease Fund. I was on stage that morning, speaking to the challenges that society faces as a result of many complex life conditions — but also to the opportunity that medical professionals, the health care system and so many others can achieve if we only think boldly about the future.

I wasn’t aware at the time of Opa’s passing — my wife called me after I left the stage to let me know — and I worked to get home as quickly as I could.

That is why Alzheimer’s is such a sad disease; the person you know, gradually disappears and fades away, even though the person remains. If you want to watch a remarkable movie about the disease, watch the video documentary “I’ll Be Me” about singer Glen Campbell and his voyage. It is a stunning documentary.

It is a haunting disease – days before the disease took Glen Campbell, he could play his guitar with finesse, even though he did not know the family members around him. His mind was taken, and yet his mind remained.

The Scope of the Brain Disease /Neurological Challenge

For anyone who has seen me on stage, you will know that I have often talked about Opa, the challenge of Alzheimer’s and aging, and the necessity for big, bold, innovative thinking to help to deal with one of the biggest challenges of our time. I have a staggering number of statistics that outline what we face in terms of Alzheimer’s:

  • the number of patients with dementia / Alzheimer’s is set to double to 78 million by 2030 – and to 115 million by 2050!
  • that will require an estimated $604 billion a year in treatment — it’s set to triple by 2050!
  • that means spending here will go from 1% of global GDP today, to 3% of global GDP by 2050

Clearly, it is one of many significant challenges that society faces, and that the health care system must re-architect itself to deal with. Today, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s; the best we can do is manage its symptoms and perhaps slow its progressions.  And that is complex – the typical Alzheimer patient is disabled for 9 to 20 years – and this will increase to 40- to 50 years as medical advances continue and life expectancy continues to grow. We are set to see a 10X increase in the cost of care. We need big thinking to deal with the scope of the challenge!

The Diseases and Conditions Targeted with Brain Science

Alzheimer’s and dementia are but one disease and condition of the brain. According to the American Neurological Association, nearly 100 million people suffer from neurological conditions ranging from migraines to Parkinson’s disease, neuromuscular disorders, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and so much more.

From a broad perspective, researchers are looking at everything involving the brain, spine, and peripheral nervous systems, as well as mental disorders and diseases, with potential solutions, involving new pharmaceuticals, technology, psychedelics, surgeries, and more. The areas of research involve what is known as neurocritical care, which covers critically ill patients with central and peripheral nervous system disorders, as well as neuroendovascular disease and conditions, which things like acute stroke,  as well as vascular malformations, arteriovenous malformations, cerebral aneurysms, and endovascular/interventional spine disease. Suffice it to say, it is a very broad field (as it is with cancer and heart disease and care), but it has drawn a great deal of investor interest.

“In many ways, the neurology field is at the same place oncology (cancer) was 20 years ago…..Neuroscience has for some time been thought to be the ‘new’ oncology, meaning yes, a growth area for investors.”

Last year, the neuroscience drug market was worth $32.2 billion, according to research firm Imarc Group. They expect it to reach $41.2 billion by 2027. Custom Market Insights sees a smaller market, but similar growth. It estimates the market for neuroscience drugs was worth $26.2 billion last year and will reach $38.8 billion by 2030.

Biotech Stocks Embrace The Neuroscience Renaissance
16 November 2022, Investor’s Business Daily

Since emerging from the Great Recession, one of biotech’s hottest areas has been neuroscience.

Looking at new ways of knocking down neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, depression, stroke and dementia , in the Bay Area alone companies have raised more than $3 billion from venture capital firms and the public capital markets to test new ideas in brain diseases.

Science breakthroughs, new technologies and money have given rise to a new generation of companies, ranging from Denali Therapeutics Inc. to Gladstone Institutes spinout Therini BioInc. and from East Bay startup Octant Inc. to Alector Inc.

Many of the companies are using platform technologies that can be used beyond neuroscience — a comfort to investors who have seen a number of failures in brain diseases over the decades — but all are challenging old notions about what makes neurons misfire and change the course of tens of millions of lives.

Next wave of Bay Area neuroscience companies: What are they doing now?
2 October 2020, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

A term like “brain-computer interface technology ” might not roll off the tongue as easily as “AI” or “robotics.”
But that may change before long. Investors who are active in the nascent field say so-called BCI companies just got a big boost now that regulators are pushing to speed this futuristic technology out of the lab and onto the medical-device market.

“Neuroscience, computing power and hardware are all coming together now as the next big industry, and I predict in the next three years, it will be just as buzzy as artificial intelligence has been,” said Ms. Bashllari, a neuroscientist by training who now heads Arkitekt Ventures.

Startups have been digitally mapping how the brain works and exploring how technology can be applied to either treat a disorder, improve motor function for amputees, or—in the far-off future—augment and perhaps enhance ordinary human cognitive power.

Connecting Brains to Computers Expected to Get VC Boost After FDA Move; FDA’s guidelines for regulating brain-computer interface technology could spur
a wave of investment in neuroscience startups.
1 March 2019, WSJ Pro Venture Capital

Thinking Big, Being Bold!

The statement that ‘we might do for brain care in the 21st century what we did for heart health in the 20th’ is the type of big, bold thinking that we need. I’ve covered the issue in terms of that type of thinking before. My 4th trend to watch in 2019 from my series “19 Trends for 2019,” The Challenge of Seniors Care, took on the topic.

I also covered this as trend #17 : Human-to-Computer Augmentation & Off Brain Storage, with this comment:

Have ever watched a 2 year old go from an iPad to a flat-screen TV in the living room? They try to get the TV to respond in the same way by touching the screen, and are kind of mystified. Another take – one executive that booked me told the story of their 3 year old wandering around the house talking to all kinds of devices – and wondering why didn’t respond back like the Amazon Echo devices in their home.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty certain that the 2 year old of today is living in a different world than I do – and that being immersed in the era of acceleration, their brain synapses are evolving very quickly, in an entirely different way. Add to that the acceleration of HCI – or Human-Computer Interface technology — and you’ve got trend #17 of ’19 Trends for 2019.’

In other words, storing a part of our minds, memory knowledge in some sort of computer hard drive!

Take this to the logical conclusion – we are seeing rapid advances in research that marries our minds to off brain storage.

How might we do it? I spoke about on stage at the World Government Summit in Dubai, we might end up combining the science of data storage with optical science – and take advantage of the fact that we have learned how to stop light in in tracks!

In doing so, maybe we can put our mind inside a yottabit ball!

I believe this is a huge opportunity – and it is coming together so quickly that I wrote it as one of the trends in my 25 Trends for 2025:

What’s Happening Today?

Just a bit of a tour gives you a sense of the types of research and development that is underway from a wide variety of different perspectives:

First, we are accelerating the very nature of the science of brain disease:

The initial projects funded under the ATN focus on four key areas of need for neurological and psychiatric disorders: developing biomarkers to track disease progression and the effectiveness of future therapies; understanding molecular pathways of protein breakdown that drive disease; parsing genetic and protein profiles linked to CNS disorders; and developing therapeutics for brain diseases based on CRISPR technologies.

Hauser noted that neuroscientists are making tremendous breakthroughs in understanding brain disease at a deep level, in large part by applying 21st century disease models based

directly on human cells and their genes.

Now, we have the opportunity to pair those growing insights with the spectacular disease biology expertise, translation and drug development skills of Genentech and Roche to create revolutionary progress toward the therapies that CNS diseases have so long lacked, he said.

Weill Neurohub joins with Genentech, Roche to advance neuroscience research
27 February 2021 Tehran Times

Consider Precision Neuroscience which is developing brain-computer interface (BCI) technology:

“We imagine a world where devastating neurological conditions – stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia – are finally treatable,” Michael Mager, CEO of Precision Neuroscience, said. “To reach this world, brain–computer interface technology needs to progress out of the lab and into the clinic. Precision is excited to take on that challenge.”

Precision develops life-changing implants designed to restore neurological function for these individuals. Precision’s implant, the Layer 7 Cortical Interface , is a strip of flexible, thin film material – similar to a piece of Scotch tape, but with a thickness that is 1/5th that of a human hair. It is configured to conform to the surface of the brain without damaging tissue, and can be implanted using a proprietary, minimally invasive cranial micro-slit technique. Precision’s device is the only BCI implant that is engineered to be safely removable. Unlike other minimally invasive approaches, it can process large amounts of data; each microelectrode array comprises 1,024 electrodes, with electrode density 600 times greater than standard cortical arrays. The company holds more than 25 patents and pending patents on its innovative technology .

The brain–computer interface industry is undergoing a period of active growth and development, touched off by crucial advances in microfabrication, machine learning, and microelectronics.

Precision Neuroscience Raises $41 Million to Build and Scale the Next Generation of Treatments for Neurological Illnesses Globenewswire
25 January 202, The Canadian Press

And much in the news, Elon Musk and his company Neuralink:

The company wants to be able to help restore vision and enable people with severe disabilities to move and communicate by decoding brain activity. Eventually, Neuralink wants to open clinics where patients could get a device implanted into their brains by their surgical robots, which the company also showcased at the Wednesday event. The robot surgeon threads Neuralink’s tiny proprietary electrodes, or brain-signal recording wires, into the brain.

Elon Musk Says Brain Implant Startup Neuralink Should Be Ready for Human Testing in Six Months
1 December 2022
The Wall Street Journal Online

At a practical level, advances are already occuring:

Using a minimally-invasive, robotic device, neurosurgeons were able to place electrodes deep within a patient’s brain and determine where epileptic seizures were originating from. Once that area was identified, brain tissue that had likely been causing seizures for more than half the young woman’s life was altered or removed.

The epilepsy team at Memorial Neuroscience Institute successfully completed its first use of a minimally- invasive, robotic device that helps pinpoint the origin of epileptic seizures on a patient.

Memorial Neuroscience Institute Performs Its First Robotic Brain Surgery to Help Ease Epileptic Seizures
26 February 2020, Contify Life Science News 

But it’s not just hi-tech brain-computer interface research that is underway. There is more basic stuff like the science of “biomarkers” that can help us actually measure the decline or progress of brain function in a precise way, something that has been lacking to this time.

But to determine progression in Alzheimer’s, clinicians ask a series of questions. They evaluate a patient’s memory, problem- solving skills and ability to perform daily tasks. The results are subjective across various clinicians and patients.

“If we are to realize that potential in the neurology space, we need to see more incorporation of prognostic biomarkers,” Chico said. “We need more precise assessments of patient population. I think that’s unfortunately going to be a perennial challenge with (central nervous system disorders).”

How Biotech Stocks Are Embracing Biomarkers
Biotech Stocks Embrace The Neuroscience Renaissance With Biogen, Amylyx At The Helm
16 November 2022, Investor’s Business Daily

Of course, the research requires better data to assess pathways inside the brain – and so we are seeing the arrival of technology known as miniscopes which help us to analyze what is actually going on inside the brain:

Bruker Corporation announced the acquisition of Inscopix, Inc., a neuroscience pioneer and market leader of miniaturized microscopes, known as miniscopes, for freely moving animal brain imaging. We’ve built an end-to-end ecosystem for neuroscience research, from reagents and streamlined workflow solutions to a full analysis pipeline. This acquisition will accelerate our mission of enabling a better understanding of the neural circuitry underpinning brain function and behavior, and to assist the development of new and better neurotherapeutics by our biopharma partners. As part of Bruker, we can take the next step in technology and new platform development for both academic and pharma customers.”

Biotech Stocks Embrace The Neuroscience Renaissance With Biogen, Amylyx At The Helm
16 November 2022, Investor’s Business Daily

We are also seeing the development of better probe implants that help to assess the actual performance of new brain and nervous system drugs because so much of what we have been doing so far has been very subjective in nature:

“Assessing the neurological and behavioral effects of drugs is important in developing pharmacological treatments, as well as understanding the mechanisms associated with neurological disorders. Herein, we present a miniaturized, wireless neural probe system with the capability of delivering drugs for the real-time investigation of the effects of the drugs on both behavioral and neural activities in socially interacting mice.”

Drugs and Therapies – Drug Delivery Systems; Brain Science Institute Reports Findings in Drug Delivery Systems 
5 October 2022, Telecommunications Weekly

And eye tracking! There is no end of imaginative ideas to assess conditions.

Baycrest is pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Ryan has been appointed as the new Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, a joint position at Baycrest and the University of Toronto. A leading neuroscientist in the field of aging and brain health, Dr. Ryan will harness her expertise in eye tracking to develop tools that detect changes in cognition and mental health, as well as cognitive strategies to keep people healthier for longer. “Eye tracking has the potential to be a great tool to assess memory and other cognitive functions because, unlike many existing neuropsychological tests, it doesn’t rely on language or education.

Besides memory, eye movement patterns may also reflect mental health. Preliminary results from Dr. Ryan’s lab suggest that people who have experienced depression in the past or who are currently living with it may not visually explore their world as much as others do. Therefore, Dr. Ryan and her team are investigating the use of eye tracking to detect changes in mental health, which could ultimately help in addressing mental health concerns as early as possible.

Baycrest: New Tanenbaum Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience is using eye movements to detect and prevent brain health decline, 3 October 2022

There is also the arrival of technology – the marriage of the type of technology we use with our mobile devices with care issues:

“The study of human movement and biomechanics forms an integral part of various clinical assessments and provides valuable information toward diagnosing neurodegenerative disorders where the motor symptoms predominate. Conventional gait and postural balance analysis techniques like force platforms, motion cameras, etc., are complex, expensive equipment requiring specialist operators, thereby posing a significant challenge toward translation to the clinics.”

Rrecent advances in technologies and methodologies for managing important neurodegenerative gait and balance disorders, emphasizing assessment and rehabilitation/assistance. The review predominantly focuses on the application of inertial sensors toward various facets of gait analysis, including event detection, spatiotemporal gait parameter measurement, estimation of joint kinematics, and postural balance analysis. In addition, the use of other sensing principles such as foot-force interaction measurement, electromyography techniques, electrogoniometers, force-myography, ultrasonic, piezoelectric, and microphone sensors has also been explored. The review also examined the commercially available wearable gait analysis systems.

Additionally, a summary of recent progress in therapeutic approaches, viz., wearables, virtual reality (VR), and phytochemical compounds, has also been presented, explicitly targeting the neuro-motor and functional impairments associated with these disorders. Efforts toward therapeutic and functional rehabilitation through VR, wearables, and different phytochemical compounds are presented using recent examples of research across the commonly occurring neurodegenerative conditions [viz., Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease (HD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)].

Science – Neuroscience; Researchers from North-Eastern Hill University Publish Findings in Neuroscience (Recent Trends and Practices Toward Assessment and Rehabilitation of Neurodegenerative Disorders: Insights From Human Gait)
29 April 2022, Drug Week

Essentially, all the sophisticated technology which has come our way in the last few years now has a role in the acceleration of brain science. (Bolding mine)

And of course, AI will play a role:

Vanderbilt neuroscience researchers are tapping into new technologies and advanced data analytics techniques to foster physicians’ limited understanding of the human brain. The research being conducted now, according to a new podcast launched by the medical center, will help transition the field from reactive, symptom-based treatment methods to enhancing brain function by using more targeted treatments.

Neurosurgery has increasingly become not just treating bad things within the brain […] It’s becoming now about communicating with the brain to decode what the brain is doing and feed information into the brain to improve function,” Dario Englot, a Vanderbilt professor of neuroscience and surgical director of epilepsy, said in the latest episode of Vanderbilt Health DNA: Discoveries in Action.

Englot, who specializes not only in neuroscience but also in electrical and biomedical engineering, said as researchers improve their comprehension of different sectors of the brain and how they communicate — i.e., Where does imagination come from? Musical talent? Athletic ability? — they will be able to construct new tools to communicate and enhance brain functions. Medical devices that can be implanted within the brain could replace prescription drugs, which often cause a multitude of side effects unrelated to the treatment. Creating devices specific to brain function comes with the hope to eliminate those unnecessary symptoms.

This level of mastery will have to come with the development and adoption of new technology , the podcast notes. To get there, Vanderbilt’s neuroscience residency program director and associate professor of neurological surgery, Lola Chambless, is leaning on advanced data analyzation techniques and artificial intelligence to mine through data being drawn out of clinical studies. Chambless said the unique attributes of each individual person and her or his brain make it difficult to give a hard-lined prognosis often sought by her patients. Having computers double-check for trends and other health indications in electronic health systems, physician notes and imaging results has helped researchers identify new, unique-to-the-patient information that may not have been obvious to the physician.

Vanderbilt using AI, big data to progress neuroscience
Researchers look to shift from treating symptoms to improving brain functions with medical devices

2 September 2020 Nashville Post NASHP

Let’s not forget the arrival of technology that might probe neural signals for sophisticated prosthetic control – so that an actual artificial limb could ‘talk’ to the human nervous system, providing for actual control by the mind

“As technology continues to improve within the neuroprosthetic landscape, there has been a paradigm shift in the approach to amputation and surgical implementation of haptic neural prosthesis for limb restoration. The Osseointegrated Neural Interface (ONI) is a proposed solution involving the transposition of terminal nerves into the medullary canal of long bones.”

Science – Neuroscience; Data from University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Advance Knowledge in Neuroscience (Clinical Basis for Creating an Osseointegrated Neural Interface)
27 April 2022, Biotech Week

Last but not least, there is a tremendous amount of research and investment going into psychedelics – particularly when driven by stark realities like this:

Up to 40% of all cancer patients in the U.S., representing almost seven million individuals, may be diagnosed with a mood disorder. An estimated 20% of all patients with life-altering cancer have clinically relevant demoralization that often occurs independent of other mood disorders like depression or anxiety. These patients have symptoms, such as hopelessness, helplessness and discouragement, which are associated with a loss of confidence in one’s ability to cope with significant distress. They are also more likely to have suicidal thoughts, have more difficulties with adherence to cancer therapy, and lack effective treatment options.

Reset Pharmaceuticals announces appointment of neuroscience industry leader Lisa Deschamps to the Board of Directors
2 November 2022, Dow Jones Newswires n

You might laugh at the idea of psychedelics in medicine – but the science and medical community does not:

“The research of novel treatment approaches for trauma and other mental health conditions through psychedelics may fundamentally change our understanding of these conditions, as well as the current treatment landscape.

Distinguished Psychedelic Researcher, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Rachel Yehuda, PhD, Joins Wesana Health
Globenewswire, 31 August 2021

Hence, there is a lot of fascinating research underway into solutions for CNS (central nervous system) disorders.

“A confluence of factors has renewed interest in the scientific understanding and translational potential of psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin: the desire for additional approaches to mental health care, incremental progress in basic and clinical research, and the reconsideration and relaxation of existing drug policies.”

There is a clear and urgent need to address the ongoing mental health crisis that plagues society today, and science has proven that psychedelic medicine may be key to developing the next generation of effective CNS treatments,” said Mr. Mayes. “As such, it is vital that we think about psychedelics as an important component to mental health treatment in much the same way that we evaluate the use of traditional therapeutics. The evidence supporting the success of psychedelic treatment across a wide range of psychiatric conditions continues to evolve, and these promising therapies deserve both attention and investment. This is an important conversation to have to set the record straight, and I look forward to exploring this topic more in-depth at Horizons to further raise awareness.”

Reunion Neuroscience CEO to Participate on Panel at 2022 Horizons Perspectives on Psychedelics Conference
Globenewswire, 12 October 2022

Obviously, cannabis, in the form of CBD and it’s pure form, has become massively medicinal:

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, with an estimated 192 million users globally. The main psychoactive component of cannabis is (-)-trans-D- tetrahydrocannabinol (D-THC), a compound with a diverse range of pharmacological actions.”

D-THC is an approved therapeutic treatment for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis, and is being investigated in indications such as anorexia nervosa, agitation in dementia , and Tourette’s syndrome. It is available as a regulated pharmaceutical in products such as Marinol, Sativex, and Namisol as well as in an ever-increasing range of unregistered medicinal and recreational cannabis products. While cannabis is an ancient medicament, contemporary use is embroiled in legal, scientific, and social controversy, much of which relates to the potential hazards and benefits of D-THC itself. Robust contemporary debate surrounds the therapeutic value of D-THC in different diseases, its capacity to produce psychosis and cognitive impairment, and the addictive and ‘gateway’ potential of the drug.”

Marijuana/Cannabis – Tetrahydrocannabinol; Data on Tetrahydrocannabinol Reported by Researchers at University of Sydney (Dark Classics in Chemical
Neuroscience: D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol)
31 May 2019, Drug Week

And so of course, every food company on the planet is busy getting into the industry of gummy bears:

How respectable has the sense of psychedelics become? None other than the Massachusetts General Hospital has established the MGH) Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics with a Fellowship Fund in Psychedelic Neuroscience!

And so consider Reunion Neuroscience:

A biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative and patented therapeutic solutions for underserved mental health conditions, today announced that the Company has completed the interim data analysis for its Phase 1 clinical trial with lead asset RE104, a unique 4-OH-DiPT prodrug. RE104 is a proprietary, novel serotonergic psychedelic compound that Reunion is developing as a potential fast- acting and durable treatment for patients suffering from postpartum depression and other mental health conditions.

Reunion Neuroscience Inc. Completes Interim Data Analysis for Phase 1 Clinical Trial with Novel Serotonergic Psychedelic RE104
Globenewswire, 9 January 2023

It’s for all these reasons that the era of brain science is a BIG trend in our BIG future – and why we need to continue to think big and bold about the world of healthcare.


Shortly after I finished this post, someone on Mastodon pointed out the deep ethical and other issues that come with this new field of science. With that in mind, consider the recently held Neurotech Justice Summit.

Hosted by the Harvard Center for Bioethics and funded by the Dana foundation!
“Addressing the ethical, legal, social, and existential implications of emerging #neurotechnologies is a complex task. This hybrid conference aims to explore how neurotech justice can be achieved in the clinic, courtroom, and other key social contexts.

“Rapidly advancing neurotechnologies are improving prevention, diagnosis, and management of neurological and psychiatric conditions; revealing new insights about cognition; and may be used outside the clinic by employers, schools, and governments.

Against this backdrop, the Neurotech Justice Summit will examine the meaning of “neurotech justice”, its interplay with neurorights, and how a focus on justice can positively shape the trajectory of #neurotechnology development and application.

Addressing the ethical, legal, social, and existential implications of emerging neurotechnologies is a complex task requiring input from a variety of disciplines and stakeholders. This Summit will bring to bear a range of such perspectives, including those of traditionally marginalized groups. The Summit will feature presentations, conversation, and audience participation to explore how neurotech justice can be achieved in the medical clinic, in the legal courtroom, and other key social contexts.


Why is this important? It’s right here:

Reading about Chile’s initiative is instructive and prescient, with this warning:

While the development of neurotechnology offers hope for many patients – including those with paralysis or degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s – it could lead to the manipulation of the human brain.

As brain science evolves quickly, it is comforting to know that there are those who are addressing the deep legal, ethical, and other issues that come with it.


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.