Elderly people grow just as many new brain cells as youngsters, according to a new study. Researchers at Columbia University have shown for the first time that healthy men and women as old as 79 can generate just as many new brain cells as someone aged 14 can. There has been controversy over whether adult humans grow new neurons, and some research has previously suggested that the adult brain was'hard-wired' and that adults did not grow new neurons. But the new study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, counters that notion, shedding new light on possible pathways to treatments for psychological and neurological conditions like Alzheimer's disease. The Columbia researchers were the first to look at the entire hippocampi of brains for signs of their abilities to form new neurons (pictured).
PARIS – Around the age of 13, the human brain region that hosts memory and learning appears to stop producing nerve cells, said a study Wednesday described as "sobering. The finding challenges a widely held view that the brain's hippocampus region continues to generate neurons, which transmit information through chemical and electrical signals, well into adulthood in humans, as in other mammals. Neurons are the cells that allow animals to react to their environment by transferring data about external stimuli such as a smell or sound to the central nervous system, and from there to muscles and glands to respond appropriately. Some research had suggested that hundreds of neurons are created in the human hippocampus every day, and it was thought that finding ways to boost such "neurogenesis" may help tackle age-related brain degeneration. Looking at brain samples from 59 adults and children, however, "we found no evidence of young neurons or the dividing progenitors of new neurons" in the hippocampi of people older than 18, study co-author Arturo Alvarez-Buylla of the University of California in San Francisco told AFP.
A study of brains aged 43 to 87 suggests we may continue to make new brain cells throughout our lives. The finding could mean that adult brains are more capable of recovering from damage than we thought. Although many of our tissues and organs renew themselves throughout our lives, it's thought that neurogenesis – the growth of new neurons – rarely occurs in adults. Now María Llorens-Martín at the Severo Ocho Molecular Biology Centre in Spain and her colleagues have studied brain tissue samples from 13 deceased adults, looking for signs of new brain cells. New neurons are made in the hippocampus – a region of the brain key to learning and memory – and as they mature from young to old, they make certain proteins.
New neurons stop growing in a key region of the brain's'memory center' as early as 13 years old, according to a controversial new study. Scientists looking at brain tissue samples found no evidence of new nerve cell growth in the dentate gyryus, a part of the hippocampus vital to memory formation, after the age of 13. The discovery contradicts previous findings suggesting that hippocampal neurons replenish themselves throughout adulthood, as they do in many other mammals. The newly found pattern seems to be a hallmark of big complex brains. New hippocampus neuron development also dwindled over time in macaque monkeys, the scientists found.
Scientists have discovered that new brain cells are produced in an area of adult brain called the amygdala for the first time. This brain region is crucial for the processing of emotional memories, and until now, it was though that new cells were not produced there. Researchers hope their findings could lead to new treatments for mental conditions, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Scientists have discovered that new brain cells (pictured) are produced in an area of adult brain called the amygdala for the first time. Researchers from the University of Queensland discovered the new brain cells in the amygdala.