Brain Research Unlocks Opportunity for Startups

Brain health is top of mind.

What’s happening: A new study from Mass General shows a strong connection between daily lifestyle behaviors and neurological health outcomes.

Tracking physical biometrics, nutrition, exercise, and socioemotional habits in ~400K adults, researchers found higher holistic health reduced risk of dementia by 59% and stroke by 52%.

Brain gains. Demystifying the brain’s inner circuits, neuroscientists are paving the way for healthcare to better understand and treat previously unsolvable—yet increasingly widespread—diseases.

  • Globally, neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second-leading cause of death.
  • One in seven US citizens suffers dementia, with numbers expected to triple by 2050.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia cost the US $321B in 2022 alone.

Doubling down, the government invested $3B in the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative to fund studies that map the human brain.

Mentalists. Taking action, ambitious startups are turning science into solutions.

After adding $323M in new funding this year and securing FDA clearance, Elon Musk’s Neuralink is readying human clinical trials for its implantable brain control interface (BCI) chip aiming to improve quality of life for quadriplegics.

A step ahead, competitors like Bill Gates- and Jeff Bezos-backed Synchron, Onward Medical, and Precision Neuroscience are actively progressing their own in-human brain implant trials.

Future thinking. A glaring oversight in neuroscience more broadly, just 0.5% of existing research focuses on women’s health — yet, 70% of Alzheimer’s cases, and 65% of depression diagnoses impact women.

Scientists say female-specific studies could help us understand hormone-related neurologic conditions like postpartum depression, perimenopausal brain fog, and menstrual migraines.

Punchline: What’s good for the brain is good for the body — and vice versa. For those suffering from neurological disorders, brain tech offers new hope. But for the general population, a healthy lifestyle is the best tool for prevention.

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