Three international scientists have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in medicine for their research which has discovered that human brains have a type of internal GPS system.
British scientist John Keefe and the Norwegian husband and wife neuroscientist team of May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser, were given the award after having proven that there are specific cells in our brains which help us to maintain our spatial awareness and build an internal ‘map’ to allow us to find our way around.
Rats Were Building Maps
Keefe discovered back in 1971 that rats have a specific nerve cell which was stimulated each time they moved into a specific area of a room and that they were in fact building a map of their environment. A kind of internal brain GPS system.
His research was shunned at the time as being too far-fetched, while nowadays his discovery heralds him as the founder of this field. The Moser’s research has found another type of nerve cell which does a similar job.
Where To From Here?
The research of these three scientists will help further research and development into the area of Alzheimer’s, particularly in the area of spatial memory. It may be used as part of a diagnostic test for those showing early signs, as well as helping improve the lives of those already suffering from Alzheimer’s.