Young rats that use their brain keep more cells alive

Learning a task helps just-born cells survive in mind’s learning and memory center

By Laura Sanders, 12:41 PM May 2, 2014

Deep in the young rat brain, a seahorse-shaped structure churns out thousands of new cells destined to die just weeks later. But these new cells can escape death if the brain is kept busy learning a task, scientists report April 23 in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

The results show just how sensitive the young brain is to experience, says study coauthor Tracey Shors of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. The surviving cells might help the fledgling animal learn how to survive on its own, she pr...

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