Scientists from the United States, Italy and Mexico, were on Wednesday awarded Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias prize for their research into brain-related disorders.
Joseph Altman, Arturo Alvarez-Buylla and Giacomo Rizzolatti were named joint winners of the Prince of Asturias Prize for Technical and Scientific Research.
"These three scientists are considered worldwide leaders in neurology for having provided solid proof of the regeneration of neurons in adult brains (neurogenesis) and for the discovery of what are known as mirror neurons," the Prince of Asturias said in a statement.
"Their research has opened up promising pathways to a new generation of treatments to fight neurodegenerative and brain-related disorders such as Alzheimer?s disease, Parkinson?s disease or Autism."
While a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Altman "discovered neurogenesis in adult mammals in the 1960?s, suggesting that these new neurons play a crucial role in the processes of memory and learning."
The Asturias foundation annually hands out eight awards, each worth 50,000 euros ($70,000) in the fields of communication and humanities, scientific and technical research, social science, arts, letters, international cooperation, understanding and sport.
Named after Crown Prince Felipe, the awards are presented in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo, capital of the northern Asturias region, in a glittering ceremony broadcast live on Spanish television.
Last year's science prize went to David Julius and Linda Watkins from the United States and Baruch Minke from Israel for research into pain relief.