“One of the big opportunities in biotech over the coming decades may come from neuroscientists who team up with Buddhists. That might sound odd at first, but itâs no joke. This is one of the big ideas on the radar of Bennett Shapiro, the former executive vice president of worldwide basic research at Merck, who lives in Seattle, and serves as a senior partner with Bostonâs PureTech Ventures.
Researchers are beginning to get a stronger sense of physiological differences in the brains of Buddhists who have been practicing mind training techniques like meditation for years, as compared to, say, the average brain of a distracted American, Shapiro says. These insights, based partly on brain imaging tools like functional MRI, are sparking new ideas about how to combine meditation techniques with neurological drugs, offering potential to do a better job of treating mental health problems, he says.”