Adult brains don’t grow new neurons in hippocampus, study suggests | Science News

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Study casts doubt on whether adult brain’s memory-forming region makes new cells

Adults may stop making neurons in the hippocampus, early findings from 54 human brains suggest

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6:00am, November 16, 2017
hippocampal nerve cells

NO NEW NERVE CELLS  A preliminary study suggests that new nerve cells are not produced in adult humans’ hippocampi, results that conflict with earlier data. Hippocampal nerve cell axons are shown in blue, and glial cells are green. All cells’ nuclei are stained red.

In stark contrast to earlier findings, adults do not produce new nerve cells in a brain area important to memory and navigation, scientists conclude after scrutinizing 54 human brains spanning the age spectrum.

The finding is preliminary. But if confirmed, it would overturn the widely accepted and potentially powerful idea that in people, the memory-related hippocampus constantly churns out new neurons in adulthood. Adult brains showed no signs of such turnover in that region, researchers reported November 13 at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C.

Previous studies in animals have hinted that boosting the birthrate of new neurons, a process called neurogenesis, in the hippocampus might enhance memory or learning abilities, combat depression and even stave off the mental decline that comes with

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