In Rome, Italy, October 23, a research team at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, received the Aspen Institute Italia Award. The scientists developed a nasal brushing test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. In a news release from Rome, officials said the procedure "represents a significant step forward in diagnosing prion diseases." In the test, the nasal samples from the patient are analyzed, amplifying prions with a new technique. Before this test, the only positive way to diagnose prion disease was after the patient had died, when a brain autopsy could be conducted.

Rocky Mountain Labs and National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases produced an explanatory video.

The Aspen Institute Italia Award for scientific research and collaboration between Italy and the United States was instituted to recognize the collaborative work done between the two nations. The Hamilton group worked with three Italian organizations, including researcher Gianluigi Zanusso, Associate Professor of Neurology at Verona University. Senior Investigator Byron Caughey's Hamilton team was Andy Hughson, Christina Orru and Bradley Groveman. Italian researchers included Matilde Bongianna, Sergio Ferrari, Michele Fiorini, Salvatore Monaco of Verona University, Giovanni Tonoli of G.B. Rossi Hospital in Verona, Italy, and Maurizio Pocchiari of Rome's National Institute of Health.