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UPDATE: Electronic Antidepressant Likely to be Approved

FDA advisory panel gives the thumbs up to Cyberonics's implanted nerve stimulator's use in treating depression

3 min read

This story is an update to a 9 June report, "Electronic Antidepressant Up for Review"

16 June 2004--An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 5 to 2 to recommend approval of an electronic implant to treat depression. Built by Cyberonics, of Houston, the device is an implanted nerve stimulator that the company says helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic or recurrent depression in people for whom drug therapies fail. In the United States depression strikes about 19 million adults. Of those, about 20 percent are not helped by drug therapies such as antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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