Does the adult human brain normally produce a significant number of new neurons, integrating them into new networks? This process is called neurogenesis, and until the 1990s, the answer was thought to be no. Then studies in rodents found that animals of those species do produce new neurons at an appreciable pace, and that this was important to memory, learning, degree of recovery from damage such as stroke, as well as aging and neurodegeneration, as the pace of neurogenesis declines with age. Studies in humans followed to provide supporting evidence that looked convincing enough to believe that rodents were a good model for other mammalian species, including our own. Then, just recently, a well-conducted study in humans found no evidence of any significant level of neurogenesis in adult human brains. Given the degree to which the scientific community is enthusiastically in search of ways to enhance regeneration in the central nervous system, this has produced the expected level of debate.
For today, and as a further illustration of what a field in flux looks like, I’ll point out another new study in which the researchers feel fairly confident in claiming that adult neurogenesis both
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