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Vegas Shooting Dominates News; 3 Americans Win Nobel In Medicine


We are following the events in Las Vegas this morning where a gunman killed, we are told by police, over 50 people, injured more than 200 more at an outdoor music festival. And we'll be following that story throughout the morning. We are trying to cover other news as well, that includes the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It was awarded today to three American scientists for their discoveries about how our internal clocks govern our lives. NPR health correspondent Rob Stein was talking to my colleague Steve Inskeep.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.


So who won?

STEIN: So there were three winners as you said - Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. And they're pretty young for Nobel Prize winners. Hall is 72. Rosbash is 73. And Young is 68.

INSKEEP: That's young for a Nobel Prize winner.

STEIN: It is pretty young, you know?


STEIN: Because usually they wait decades before they give this honor.

INSKEEP: OK, good to know.

STEIN: And Rosbash and Hall did the research together at Brandeis University in Boston. Hall's retired now, but Rosbash is still working at Brandeis. And Young is a scientist at Rockefeller University in New York City.

INSKEEP: OK. So what is our internal clock? And what did these folks learn about it?

STEIN: Yeah, no, our internal clock is really what governs everything in our bodies and keeps everything kind of ticking along at the right pace. It makes sure that this complex, you know, dance of hormones in our bodies' cells are all working together in the right way. And the Academy said they did a series of paradigm-shifting discoveries. And what you can think of is sort of the gears inside of our clock to make it all work the way it's supposed to work.

INSKEEP: When you say our clock, do you mean coordinating like whether you feel like it's morning, whether you feel like it's nighttime, time to be awake, time to sleep?

STEIN: That's right. You know, scientists have known for a long time that our bodies have this internal clock. It's called our circadian rhythm. But nobody really knew how it worked, the sort of nitty-gritty details of how it's all orchestrated in this very intricate dance to keep everything on time, as you might say.

INSKEEP: So these guys got into the clockworks and figured it out.

STEIN: They got into the clockworks. And they - what they discovered is there are these three proteins that all kind of work together to orchestrate things. One is called the PER protein that builds up inside the cell. And then it also builds up and also shuts down the production to keep it from getting - to keep everything working on time. There are two other proteins. One is called the timeless protein.

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

STEIN: And another one is called the doubletime protein. And they all come up with great names for these proteins in these cells - in these genes. And they all work together to make sure that our bodies are functioning just at the right pace on this very carefully controlled 24-hour cycle.

INSKEEP: OK. Clear explanation - you must be a morning person, Rob Stein.

STEIN: Well, I've had a couple of cups of coffee this morning.

INSKEEP: There you go. Rob Stein, NPR science correspondent - thanks very much.

STEIN: Sure.

GREENE: All right. There's that news. But of course, the big story we're following this morning is in Las Vegas where a gunman last night, we are told by police, killed more than 50 people, injured more than 200. NPR's Scott Detrow is in our studios. He's been following the latest news. And Scott, what are you learning?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Well, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department just put out a lengthy statement, a lot of new details here. Fifty people are dead at this point. And an estimated 406 people were taken to the hospital.

GREENE: Taken to the hospital - so what their injuries were if they were injured - I mean, that's a lot of people going to the hospital so something...

DETROW: That's right.

GREENE: Those numbers are growing.

DETROW: We also learn something new about the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddok who was firing on the crowd of 22,000 from a hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Police now say they responded to the call. They breached the hotel room. And they found the suspect dead when they got into the hotel room. So that is new information here as well. But again, more than 400 people taken to local hospitals in response to this shooting.

GREENE: OK. And again, that's according to the authorities who also say at this point that 50 or more people were killed in what appears to be the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. And we'll have much more throughout the day.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
Rob Stein is a correspondent and senior editor on NPR's science desk.