Just in: Three Americans win Nobel Prize for Medicine

Janie Parker
October 3, 2017

"Today's laureates unraveled the first, coherent molecular mechanism for a circadian clock, and unquestionably led this field", says Andrew Millar, who studies biological clocks at the University of Edinburgh.

"Circadian dysfunction has been linked to sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, cognitive function, memory formation and some neurological diseases", a Nobel background report said.

United States scientists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young have been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries relating to the biological clock, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm said Monday.

Through decades of research, scientists identified the mechanisms governing clockwork inside the cell, shedding light on the biology of humans and other multicellular organisms whose biological clocks function on similar principles, notably one that allows light to influence the 24-hour rhythm. Various clocks in the brain and elsewhere in the body, working together, regulate things like sleep patterns, eating habits and the release of hormones and blood pressure.

Rosbash is on the faculty at Brandeis University, Young is at Rockefeller University and Hall has been associated with the University of Maine.

"I am very pleased for the fruit fly", said Mr. Rosbash, a 73-year-old professor at Brandeis University.

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Instead, that run was his longest of the game as he finished with 46 yards on 12 carries. "It's extremely frustrating", Ajayi said.

"I really had some trouble getting my shoes on this morning".

He added: "We encounter the body clock when we experience jet lag and we appreciate it's debilitating for a short time, but the real public health issue is rotational shift work - it's a constant state of jet lag".

The circadian rhythm is mostly endogenous: it is "performed" and regulated by chemical reactions that occur within the body's cells, using internal cues. Such knowledge can be important in telling when to deliver drugs for maximum effect, and perhaps for developing new ones, he said. Nobel committee member Carlos Ibanez said the work helped in understanding how people adapt to shiftwork.

And when Young later discovered the gene doubletime, which encoded the DBT protein that delayed the accumulation of the PER protein, it showed how oscillation frequency is controlled more closely match a 24-hour cycle. The research showed "the way they worked together to provide this attractive mechanism". The trio's research on this issue was made on fruit flies, but findings revealed cycles that enable molecular clock to work in all animals. The human clock struggles to remain tuned to our highly irregular lifestyles, and I believe that this causes metabolic and other health problems, and makes us more likely to become obese.

Discoveries about how organisms stay in sync with Earth's rhythm of day and night have won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The Nobel Prize for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature will be announced from Tuesday to Thursday while the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 will be announced on Friday October 6.

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