Nobel Prize for medicine awarded for brain's 'inner GPS' discovery

Zee Media Bureau

Stockholm: British-US scientist John O’Keefe and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the brain’s “inner GPS”.

“This year's Nobel Laureates have discovered a positioning system, an 'inner GPS' in the brain, that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space,” the assembly said.

The “place cells” and “grid cells” they discovered make it possible for our brains to work out where we are .

Their findings represented a “paradigm shift” in the knowledge of how cells work together to perform cognitive functions, the Nobel Assembly said, adding that could help scientists understand the mechanisms behind diseases like Alzheimer's.

The Nobel Assembly said knowledge about the brain's positioning system may “help us understand the mechanism underpinning the devastating spatial memory loss” that affects people with Alzheimer's disease.

This discovery has opened new avenues for understanding cognitive functions such as memory, thinking and planning, it said.