STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- A Swede and two U.S. researchers won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discoveries about how messages are transmitted between brain cells, work that has paid off for treating Parkinson's disease and depression.
Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel will share $915,000 prize for their pioneering discoveries concerning one way brain cells send messages to each other, called "slow synaptic transmission."
These discoveries have been crucial for understanding how the brain normally works. In addition, the work laid the groundwork for developing the standard treatment for Parkinson's disease and contributed to the development of a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute said.
Carlsson, 77, is with the University of Goteborg in Sweden, Greengard, 74, is with Rockefeller University in New York and Kandel, 70, is an Austrian-born U.S. citizen with Columbia University in New York.
The medicine prize was the first announced in a week of awards.
The winners of the prizes for physics and chemistry will be announced Tuesday and for economics -- the only one not established in Nobel's will -- on Wednesday in Stockholm.
The awards culminate Friday with the coveted peace prize in Oslo, Norway. The date for the literature prize, also announced in Stockholm, has not yet been set.
Carlsson's studies during the late 1950s led to the development of the drug L-dopa, still the most important treatment for the disease, the committee said.
His research also shed light on how other drugs work, especially antipsychotic drugs used against schizophrenia.
Greengard was awarded for showing how brain cells respond to dopamine and other chemical messengers.
Kandel was cited for his research on the biology of memory, showing the importance of changes in the synapse, the place where chemical messages pass from one brain cell to another.
This year's award for medicine was bumped to the top slot after the academy failed to reach a decision last week on the literature price.
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