`Mad-cow' doctor rewarded with a Nobel prize

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A doctor whose work illuminated a cause of dementia, and a playwright whose characters act demented to shine light on social concerns joined eight others in receiving Nobel prizes last night. The laureates in literature, physics, chemistry, medicine and economics accepted their prizes from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf in a ceremony at Stockholm's Concert Hall.

Instead of providing a prepared text, the literature prize winner, Dario Fo, gave the audience sheaves of brightly coloured drawings which referred to the main ideas in his extemporised talk. The medicine prize goes to Stanley Prusiner, of the University of California-San Francisco, who discovered the infectious agent behind "mad-cow disease" and other brain-wasting afflictions that include a rare form of dementia in humans. The Nobel Prizes are presented on 10 December, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, whose will established the awards. - AP, Stockholm