UK researcher Professor John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser, and Edvard Moser share the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine after discovering the “GPS system” of the human brain.
These scientists discovered how the brain could tell where we are and how it can navigate to various places.
Their discovery of the brain’s “GPS system” may help explain why patients with Alzheimer’s disease find it hard to recognise their environment.
According to the Nobel Assembly, their discovery provides a solution for a problem that has baffled philosophers and scientists for hundreds of years.
O’Keefe of University College London discovered the first part of the internal positioning system of the brain back in 1971. He found out that a set of nerve cells are activated when a rat was in one location of a room and a different set of nerves are activated when the rat was in another area. O’Keefe believes that these nerve cells in the hippocampus forms a map in the brain.
After more than three decades, husband and wife May-Britt and Edvard discovered in 2005 the part of the brain that acts like a nautical chart, called the “grid cells.” It helps the brain navigate. The couple worked at the Norweigan University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.