Neuro Literature Review: “Neurotech” in Portfolio.com May 2008 is Great

How could I have missed this? Here’s a brief review of Portfolio.com May 2008 “neurotech” articles and graphics.

Neurotech business review Portfolio-dot-com May 2008

Starting with the graphic (click to go to the article) – it’s pretty telling: the two “neurotech” areas most associated with “character flaws” are the lowest revenue business areas — obesity and addition. (Graphic is modified to point that out). With large market size, why is that?

Probably because obesity and addiction are thought to be “character flaws” at some level. But that’s the point: more and more, “character flaws” are found to have neurological correlates (hence the name of this blog). Mental health is actually physical health, except localized to the brain (or things that act on the brain).

The “market size” graphic is a put-off for me because, in the blue-capsule graphic above, this is revenue — a moving target for any number of reasons. Probably there is no other good way to convey a current market snapshot because the largest patient populations (like obesity and addiction) have the lowest revenues. Anyway, revenues aren’t profits, and I won’t get started on creative accounting here.

The second theme, to me, is the brain research tidal wave. My own view is that this is as significant as biotechnology research in the late 20th century.

And that’s tough to capture in a business journal, word-limited article. Nevertheless, “The ultimate cure“, by David Ewing Duncan, is a very fast read, executive summary-type article about the businesses, players, targets, technology and politics involved in monkeying around with peoples’ brains. This article is a good present-day snapshot. Appropriate for the forum. Got to the point. Hit the highlights without being too gee-whiz science, and appropriately managing expectations of the reader. (Take away business proposition: too early.)

One thing I would like to see in a business journal writing about new technology: what are the business models? How does a stem cell company make money? How about a nicotine-agonist company when people could just use a nicotine patch? Any big companies looking for bolt-on acquisition? Probably a little too deep for this publication, where most people on line have the attention span of an ADD gnat.

So, appropriately, the interactive graphics pretty much play to the ADD gnat crowd, and I thought they were great — just enough detail that someone on a Monday morning, before their coffee could gain some knowledge without having to learn trigonometry (click on figure below for link):

Portfolio.com may 2008 neurotech graphics

So, thank you Portfolio.com, nicely done.

The only thing that bothers me is mainstreaming the term, “neurotech”. “Nanotech” also bugs me, too b-schoolish. How about neurohealth? Or, getting to specifics, neuro-pharma ?