The 2014 Newcomb Cleveland Prize  is awarded to Lulu Xie, Hogyi Kang,Qiwu Xu, Michael J. Chen, Yonghong Liao, Meenakshisundaram Thiyagarajan, John O’Donnell, Daniel J. Christensen, Charles Nicholson, Jeffrey J. Iliff ,Takahiro Takano, Rashid Deane, Maiken Nedergaard for their outstanding report “Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain” published in Science 18 October 2013, pp. 373-377.
The report addresses the age-old and profound question: “Why do we sleep?” The paper arrives at the equally remarkable conclusion: during sleep the space between brain cells increases by 60 percent, boosting the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that flushes waste products such as ß-amyloid (associated with Alzheimer’s disease) from the brain. The peer reviewers found the results of this paper startling, unexpected, and ranked it as one of the most influential papers in the neurosciences published all year.Technically, the experimental techniques used on laboratory mice to measure changes in brain status in vivo during sleep and waking hours were extremely challenging, novel, and cutting edge. Even to the members of the selection committee well outside of the field the paper was a pleasure to read and easily conveyed the importance of the question being posed and the significance of the finding. The implications of the results are far reaching: from treatment of sleep disorders to therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, this paper suggests new directions that are game changers.
For a complete listing of past Newcomb Cleveland Prize recipients, please see the AAAS Archives .
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