Old age in mind: to what age the brain produces new neurons?

A team of scientists from several Spanish institutions found evidence of neurogenesis (the emergence of new neurons) in the brain of people up to a ripe old age. In his article published in the journal Nature Medicine, describes a group of brain research recently deceased people and their findings. About to what age the brain creates new neurons, scientists have debated over the past few years - as well as about which parts of the brain it occurs.

Old age in mind: to what age the brain produces new neurons?

A lot of research in this area focused on the hippocampus, because this part of the brain most involved in storing memories - logic dictates that new memories with no new neurons can not do, they must be stored somewhere. In addition, the hippocampus is one of the structures of the brain that is damaged as a result of "robbing the memory" of diseases like Alzheimer's. Last year, an international team of scientists has found that neurogenesis in the hippocampus ceases after childhood.

In his new work, scientists report that proved the opposite: in fact, neurogenesis continues until a ripe old age.

Scientists: neurogenesis continues to

87 years

Previous studies have shown that in the early stages of development of neurons contain protein doublecortin, which can be seen under a microscope. Research in Spain is largely relied on that information. Scientists have studied the bodies of recently deceased people (over 10 after death) and examined under a microscope for signs of doublecortin. Scientists report that found numerous examples of cells with doublecortin, which showed that the growth of new neurons occurs in the brain of people who died at the age of 43 to 87 years. Remarkably, the same tests were carried out on people who had Alzheimer's disease, and examples of neurogenesis was very small. This suggests that the disease is not only deprives people of old memories, but also keeps them from forming new ones.

The researchers also note that using a more rigorous approach to the preservation of corpses than in previous works, and this might explain the difference in results. However, until the final answer to the question, to what age the brain is able to generate new neurons, no - this is only the first step to clarify.

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