Monday, October 06, 2014

Nobel Prize Week Begins: 3 Share Prize for Physiology or Medicine

As heard on NPR's Morning Edition, three neuroscientists have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, with one half to John O´Keefe and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser for their discoveries of cells that constitute a  positioning system in the brain.  
"The discoveries of John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries – how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?" 
Their findings have implications for Alzheimer's research, and "represent a paradigm shift in our understanding of how ensembles of specialized cells work together to execute higher cognitive functions. It has opened new avenues for understanding other cognitive processes, such as memory, thinking and planning." [from today's announcement on Nobel Prize]

Two key papers, accessible to subscribers:
O'Keefe, J., and Dostrovsky, J. (1971). The hippocampus as a spatial map. Preliminary evidence from unit activity in the freely‐moving rat. Brain Research 34, 171-175. [access at science
Fyhn, M., Molden, S., Witter, M.P., Moser, E.I., Moser, M.B. (2004) Spatial representation in the entorhinal cortex. Science 305, 1258-1264.  [access at]

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