What to Learn from the Debate over Adult Human Neurogenesis?

Neurogenesis is the name given to the processes by which new neurons are created and integrated into neural circuits. More neurogenesis is generally agreed to be beneficial, in the same way as stem cell activity in other tissues is beneficial, by helping to maintain tissue function in the face of injury and biological wear and tear. As is the case for stem cell function in general, neurogenesis falters with age where it is known to occur throughout life. Beyond this point of maintenance, a process common to all tissues, there is also the matter of cognitive function to consider, however. Greater neurogenesis may aid in learning, memory, and other capabilities, distinctly from the role it plays in normal tissue maintenance.

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Neurogenesis obviously occurs throughout the brain in early life, as this organ is constructed and finalized. Until the 1990s it was thought that this process ceased in most areas of the brain in adults. Then it was proven that adult neurogenesis does in fact occur in mice, in areas of the brain important to memory and cognition, which was at the time quite the upheaval. Since then near all of the research on this


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