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Arvid Carlsson
Born 25 January 1923 (1923-01-25) (age 86)
Uppsala, Sweden
Nationality Swedish
Alma mater Lund University
Known for dopamine
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2000)

Arvid Carlsson (born 25 January 1923) is a Swedish scientist who is best known for his work with the neurotransmitter dopamine and its effects in Parkinson's disease. For his work on dopamine, Carlsson won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000,[1] along with co-recipients Eric Kandel and Paul Greengard.

Carlsson was born in Uppsala, Sweden, son of Gottfrid Carlsson, historian and later professor of history at the Lund University, where he began his medical education in 1941. In 1944 he was participating in the task of examining prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, who Folke Bernadotte, a member of the royal Swedish family, had managed to bring to Sweden. Although Sweden was neutral during World War II, Carlsson's education was interrupted by several years of service in the Swedish Armed Forces. In 1951, he received his M.L. degree (the equivalent of the American M.D.) and his M.D. (the equivalent of the American Ph.D.). He then became a professor at the University of Lund. In 1959 he became a professor at the University of Gothenburg.

In 1957 Carlsson demonstrated that dopamine was a neurotransmitter in the brain and not just a precursor for norepinephrine, as had been previously believed.[2][3]

While working at Astra AB, Carlsson and his colleagues were able to derive the first marketed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, zimelidine, from brompheniramine.[1]

Carlsson developed a method for measuring the amount of dopamine in brain tissues. He found that dopamine levels in the basal ganglia, a brain area important for movement, were particularly high. He then showed that giving animals the drug reserpine caused a decrease in dopamine levels and a loss of movement control. These effects were similar to the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. By administering to these animals L-Dopa, which is the precursor of dopamine, he could alleviate the symptoms. These findings led other doctors to try using L-Dopa on patients with Parkinson's disease, and found it to alleviate some of the symptoms in the early stages of the disease. L-Dopa is still the basis for most commonly used means of treating Parkinson's disease.[1]

Opposition to fluoridation of drinking water

Carlsson is opposed to the fluoridation of drinking water and, together with 1,700 other health professionals, has signed a petition to end fluoridation of drinking water.[4][5][6][7]

Carlsson states that he took part in the debate in Sweden, where he helped to convince Parliament that water fluoridation should be illegal due to ethics. He believes that water fluoridation violates modern pharmalogical principles, which indicate that medications should be tailored to individuals.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Barondes, Samuel H. (2003). Better Than Prozac. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 21–22, 39–40. ISBN 0-19-515130-5.  
  2. ^ Arvid Carlsson, Margit Lindqvist, Tor Magnusson (November 1957). "3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine and 5-hydroxytryptophan as reserpine antagonists". Nature 180 (4596): 1200. doi:10.1038/1801200a0. PMID 13483658.  
  3. ^ Abbott A (2007). "Neuroscience: the molecular wake-up call". Nature 447 (7143): 368–70. doi:10.1038/447368a. PMID 17522649. Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  4. ^ Over 1,700 Professionals Call for an End to Fluoridation of Drinking Water, Fluoride Action Network
  5. ^ I-Team: Fluoride Controversy, ABC WJLA/NewsChannel 8, Aug 9, 2007
  6. ^ Fluoride in drinking water can cause cancer, Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish)
  7. ^ Torell P, Forsman B (February 1979). "[Arvid Carlsson's fluoride ponderings 1978]" (in Swedish). Tandlakartidningen 71 (3): 142–57. PMID 287207.  
  8. ^ Bryson C. The Fluoride Deception, p. 240.
  • Les Prix Nobel. 2001. The Nobel Prizes 2000, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, Nobel Foundation: Stockholm.

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