Richard G. Petty, MD

Nobel Prizes 2006

This is always an exciting week for anyone interested in science, the arts or the future of humanity.

Every year, the first week of October is the time when the Nobel Prizes are announced. Many of us have our short lists of people we think SHOULD get the Prizes, and it’s always interesting to see who does. I also have to admit to a personal interest: I have several friends and colleagues who are in the running, so I’ve got some fingers and toes crossed for them.

Last year the Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to the discoverers of Helicobacter. Their discovery has lead medicine to reconsider just how many illnesses might be caused by infections in combination with genes, stress and environmental factors. In one moment we moved from blaming a whole group of illnesses on bad behavior to bad bugs.

I just got a little flash on my screen to tell me that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded.

At the risk of sound like an announcer at the Oscars, the 2006 Prize has gone to Andrew Fire from Stanford and Craig Mello from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Their work on RNA interference has been receiving massive plaudits amongst biochemists for the eight years since it was discovered. It is doubly remarkable that the Prize has come so soon after the first publication: that is very rare. It is a fundamental mechanism by which genes are regulated in the body, and we believe that the discovery has the potential to allow us to switch off harmful genes. The discovery also allowed us to systematically test the functions of all human genes.

When I have talked about mechanisms by which environmental factors and even thoughts and emotions can change gene expression, it was driven in part by an understanding of some of this work.

Let me add my warmest congratulations to their magificent achievement!

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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