Feed your Newborn Neurons

Posted on August 14, 2006  Comments (4)

New Neurons Need Signals to Survive:

The human brain continues to produce new nerve cells throughout its life and these neurons may be key to learning new information. But many of these novice neurons wither and die before joining the vast signaling network of their mature peers. Now new research seems to show that the presence or absence of new information–represented by the neurotransmitter glutamate–may determine a young neuron’s survive.

So save your new neuron’s and read the Curious Cat Science and Engineering blog every day 🙂

The Reinvention of the Self by Jonah Lehrer (on neurogenesis – the creation of new brain cells):

Beginning in 1962, a researcher at MIT named Joseph Altman published several papers claiming that adult rats, cats, and guinea pigs all formed new neurons. Although Altman used the same technique that Rakic would later use in monkey brains—the injection of radioactive thymidine—his results were at first ridiculed, then ignored, and soon forgotten.

As a result, the field of neurogenesis vanished before it began. It would be another decade before Michael Kaplan, at the University of New Mexico, would use an electron microscope to image neurons giving birth. Kaplan discovered new neurons everywhere in the mammalian brain, including the cortex. Yet even with this visual evidence, science remained stubbornly devoted to its doctrine. Kaplan remembers Rakic telling him that “Those [cells] may look like neurons in New Mexico, but they don’t in New Haven.” Faced with this debilitating criticism, Kaplan, like Altman before him, abandoned the field of neurogenesis.

An example of the difficulty getting new scientific ideas accepted.

4 Responses to “Feed your Newborn Neurons”

  1. How The Brain Rewires Itself
    January 24th, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

    “The finding was in line with a growing number of discoveries at the time showing that greater use of a particular muscle causes the brain to devote more cortical real estate to it.”…

  2. CuriousCat: New Neurons in Old Brains
    May 24th, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

    […] “In young animals, cells are very active, very plastic, and they can change their properties readily,” he says. “This whole process [also] happens in the environment of adult circuitry.” […]

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Illusion of Explanatory Depth
    February 23rd, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

    But most days I want to ask how does that work, why do we do that, why can’t we… I just stop myself. But it does mean I asked myself and realized I don’t really know. So I am at least more aware how little I really know, I think I am anyway…

  4. Exercise Reduces Anxiety While Also Promoting the Growth of New Neurons » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    July 18th, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    […] Feed your Newborn Neurons – New Neurons are Needed for New Memories – Regular Aerobic Exercise for a Faster Brain […]

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