The trend in medicine is away from the heart and toward the brain. We are seeing significantly increased interest and research into how the brain functions and how we might be able to repair neurons and nerve pathways to restore abilities lost to injury or aging. The Obama Administration’s proposal to map the brain is one example. There is also research coming out of various Universities. Brown reports on a fascinating experiment to get neurons to grow in predictable patterns.

Brain research could yield fertile opportunities for medical device designers and developers. There are already several devices that attempt to use brain wave activity to control software and physical objects using thought alone. Other brain interface devices are also in the works.

As with any nascent undertaking, medicine’s increasing focus on the brain will bring significant opportunites for medical device designers and product developers to sort out the complex issues in moving research findings to practical application.