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Science

Humans Produce New Brain Cells Throughout Their Lives, Say Researchers (theguardian.com) 57

An anonymous reader shares a report: Humans continue to produce new neurons in a part of their brain involved in learning, memory and emotion throughout adulthood, scientists have revealed, countering previous theories that production stopped after adolescence. The findings could help in developing treatments for neurological conditions such as dementia. Many new neurons are produced in the hippocampus in babies, but it has been a matter of hot debate whether this continues into adulthood -- and if so, whether this rate drops with age as seen in mice and nonhuman primates. Although some research had found new neurons in the hippocampus of older humans, a recent study scotched the idea, claiming that new neurons in the hippocampus were at undetectable levels by our late teens.
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Humans Produce New Brain Cells Throughout Their Lives, Say Researchers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2018 @04:03PM (#56388875)

    The recent article saying that we get no new neurons was causing me stress, which of course was killing my neurons, and thinking about that was causing me MORE stress.

    But now, a new article, with a much better claim!

    I feel the stress draining away, as new brain cells are born to replace the ones I lost last week.

    • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @04:10PM (#56388913) Homepage

      Yes, this one contradicts last month's study saying that contrary to previous belief humans do NOT grow new neurons: https://www.npr.org/sections/h... [npr.org]

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/07/health/new-brain-cells-adulthood-study/index.html

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-the-adult-brain-really-grow-new-neurons/

    • Isn't it nice when the news matches your expectations? To hell with facts, just make me feel good!
  • Nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday April 05, 2018 @04:11PM (#56388921)

    So at age 72 we'll all be stable geniuses.

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      Based on my experience I'd say you need to be at least 120 years old to be a genius.

  • Use it or lose it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @04:24PM (#56389013) Journal
    Haven't I read at least a few articles that say keeping your mind active as you age can perhaps prevent age-related mental problems like dementia and Alzheimers?
    All makes perfect sense to me. You don't use your muscles, they atrophy, because there's no reason for your body to dedicate resources to something that's not being used; why should it be any different with your brain? Keep learning your whole life, keep yourself interested in something, and your brain will last as long as possible. Having a purpose in life, whether bestowed on you or of your own devising would probably help.
    • does more activity lead to less mental problems or do less mental problems lead to more activity? I'm not even sure how you could control for that.
      • Having to deal with too many other humans seems to be what causes mental illness, if the news of the past few years is any indicator.
    • Take the analogy further. Nutrition and genetics also play a role in musculature, dementia, and Alzheimers.
    • Somewhat similar, I saw a study recently about how they took 2 groups of older people. One group did strength training I believe, and the other just did various mental stuff. They found that the group that exercised was improving in their cognitive function while the other group stayed the same. Just keep everything about you active, don't couch potato to death.
  • Not so clear cut (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @04:31PM (#56389091) Journal

    From the article:

    Dr Mercedes Paredes from the University of California San Francisco, an author of last month’s paper suggesting adults do not develop new neurons, said she was not persuaded. “For now, we do not think this new study challenges what we have concluded from our own recently published observations: if neurogenesis continues in the adult human hippocampus, it is an extremely rare phenomenon,” she said. “It boils down to interpretation of equivocal cells which we took extra steps to characterise extensively and showed not to be new neurons as they first appeared.”

    I would also note that this study's subjects were "between 14 and 79" and the previous study stated "only a few isolated young neurons are observed by 7 and 13 years of age". Thus, this new study finding little decline between 14 and 79 could be entirely accurate if the bulk of the decline was over by 14. It is an apples and oranges comparison.

    As an aside, I feel that there is a great argument forming for completing secondary education by 14 as we used to. We hurt ourselves by not getting more of our foundation in place during that more biologically capable time period.

    • Heck, cut it to 8. At that age they're still small enough to fit inside chimneys.

    • there is a great argument forming for completing secondary education by 14 as we used to. We hurt ourselves by not getting more of our foundation in place during that more biologically capable time period.

      Sounds good on paper but it seems like the familial and social structures are no longer up to the task.

  • by CSMoran ( 1577071 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @04:43PM (#56389177) Journal

    new neurons in the hippocampus were at undetectable levels by our late teens.

    Have our adults detect them. Next issue.

  • So when you lose it to some idiot on a Internet forum and tell them to "Grow Brain" it is not so much an insult as it is a helpful constructive suggestion.

  • To paraphrase Errol Flynn, "A man who dies with all his brain cells is a failure."

    Anyway, I've got plenty. I figure I could lose 30-40% and still be smarter than the average jamoke.

  • Where people would suggest that folks dont grow knew brain cells after frying them on drugs... you know the whole egg and frying pan thing. Isnt that where it started. It never sounded right.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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