Listen to Nobel Prize winner Arvid Carlsson’s story about his epoch-making findings made 40 years ago and about the importance of the recent findings that levodopa may be infused continuously via subcutaneous infusion.
Arvid Carlsson, 2000 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
In 2000, Professor Emeritus Arvid Carlsson was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research in the field of neuropharmacology. He received the award for his discovery that dopamine is a signal substance in the brain and that dopamine is of major significance to the control of our movements. As much as forty years ago, Professor Carlsson was able to demonstrate that dopamine acts as a message carrier molecule in the brain, and that a shortage of this substance gives rise to impaired motor skills, for example in the case of Parkinson’s disease.
In clinical studies, an agent that is converted into dopamine in the brain – DOPA – was found to lead to massively improved motor skills in many severely disabled patients. Even now this agent is the most effective treatment available for Parkinson’s disease. The observation that it is possible to influence the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and psychosis by modifying dopamine activity has been of crucial importance to our understanding of these diseases. Even more important, however, is that these studies have made it clear for the first time that it is actually possible to use drugs to influence the functioning of the brain by modulating the signal substances that deal with communication between the neurons. More or less all subsequent research into pharmaceutical therapy for neurological and psychiatric diseases is based on this strategy demonstrated by Professor Carlsson.