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Old people can produce as many new brain cells as teenagers

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From  New Scientist April 15 2018


PEOPLE in their 70s seem to produce just as many new neurons as teenagers. The discovery could provide clues as to how we can keep our minds sharper for longer.

In mammals, most brain cells are created at or soon after birth and aren't renewed. Recently, it was found that the human hippocampus, linked with learning and memory, produces new neurons throughout life. But this ability, called neurogenesis, was thought to plummet after middle age.

Now, Maura Boldrini at Columbia University in New York and her colleagues have analysed the hippocampi from 28 people, aged between 14 and 79. These were examined soon after each person's death to check for the number of new neurons they contained, and other signs of neuron function and activity.

Similar numbers of new neurons were found throughout each hippocampus, regardless of a person's age. The team estimates that each person was making about 700 neurons a day when they died (Cell Stem Celldoi.org/cm4z).

"New neuron growth has never been studied before in people who didn't have any brain disease or end-of-life stress, with tissue taken within 24 hours of death," says Boldrini. "Our results show that healthy older people can form just as many new neurons as younger people. If we know what is happening in these people to keep their neurons forming, then maybe we can use it to help others age more healthily too."

The number of new neurons may still be a lot higher in newborns and young children, says Jeff Davies at Swansea University, UK. He would be interested to see the study repeated in people who do and don't exercise. "This would provide some insight into whether the production of new neurons can be modified by environmental factors in humans to promote healthy brain ageing," he says.

This article appeared in print under the headline "Older people still make new brain cells"

Helen Thomson

Edited by Lance
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13 hours ago, Stormswift said:

or super delusional. 


Oh I'm sorry the  super-intelligent person you were referring to was NOT in a general sense? Oh my bad ... I will think about withdrawing my super delusional comment.

14 hours ago, Gregexplore said:

The person who eats plenty of donuts must be super-intelligent! LOL :lol1:


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51 minutes ago, Stormswift said:

I will think about withdrawing my super delusional comment.

Just to put you at ease ... Nothing to withdraw ... Nobody is upset, and I like your sense of humor!


PS. My super-intelligent donut infused cell suggested to me above response :lol1:

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