Alim-Louis Benabid (France)
French physicist and neurosurgeon Alim-Louis Benabid was honoured for revolutionising the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions with the use of high-frequency deep brain stimulation. Based on controlled electric charges administered via a probe implanted into the patient’s skull – akin to a “brain pace-maker” – Benabid’s method has become a standard treatment around the world, and has benefited over 150 000 people, who can now lead self-directed, independent lives thanks to the invention.
Accepting the award, Alim-Louis Benabid said: “doing research is a privilege, finding something useful is a privilege, being recognised is a privilege”. He said “only artists and writers are the sole owners of their discoveries. In science, we work together with other scientists and patients” and said the award was dedicated to everyone “who worked with me”.