Medicine: Not So Dopey Dopamine

The neurotransmitter dopamine ranks among the most powerful of the brain's master molecules. A regulator of mood and movement, it plays a principal role in Parkinson's disease, drug addiction and schizophrenia. For years after its discovery in 1910, however, scientists considered dopamine merely a stepping-stone to the more powerful compound noradrenaline.

But as the Nobel Prize committee reminded the world last week, that view radically changed in the late 1950s when Swedish pharmacologist Arvid Carlsson brought dopamine out of the shadows. First Carlsson established that the areas of the brain known as the basal ganglia contained very high levels of dopamine....

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