R&D magazine reports that the field of “neurotech” is growing, comparing the growth to that of the field of “biotech” in the mid-1980’s. What exactly does this term comprise? As the authors note,
Neurotechnology is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of technologies: diagnostic imaging of the brain through methods such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI); neuropharmacology (drugs, including painkillers and antidepressants, that affect brain and nervous system functioning); enhancements or replacements for sensory or motor systems (cochlear or retinal implants, “smart” prosthetics) and neurostimulation through implanted electrodes to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s or to restore mobility to paralyzed patients.
Interestingly, they believe that many of the new applications will be tested in Asia, where the requirements for a clinical trial are much less stringent.
As with every article released in the popular media, this article should be read with a dose of skepticism, but as more people recognize the practical applications of basic neuroscience research it is probable that more dollars will be fed back into the system.