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New insights on new neurons

Two studies on mice shed light on the role of neurogenesis in memory, olfactory sensing and antidepressant efficacy

By
4:08pm, August 31, 2008

Most of the brain does fine with its original brain cells, but parts involved in smelling and remembering sometimes need some new recruits.

In mice, new neurons are needed to remember mazes and keep their scent-sensing organs plump (but aren’t necessary for detecting smells), a new study shows. Another recent study demonstrates that some antidepressants require neurogenesis — the creation of fresh neurons — to work.

 

Both studies are part of a new wave of research that shows neurogenesis — once thought to be impossible in the brain — plays an important role in the organ’s function.

 

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