New Neurons are Needed for New Memories

Posted on September 30, 2008  Comments (0)

New neurons are needed for new memories

Around 15 years ago, researchers discovered that the adult rodent brain contains discrete populations of stem cells which continue to divide and produce new cells throughout life. This discovery was an important one, as it overturned a persistent dogma in neuroscience which held that the adult mammalian brain cannot regenerate.
This study shows that inhibiting neurogenesis has strikingly different consequences in two distinct regions of the brain. In the olfactory bulb, it leads to significant shrinkage but apparently does not alter smell-related behaviour. In the hippocampus, the effect on structure is not so marked, but it is clear that newly-generated neurons are necessary for the processes of learning and memory. Exactly how the new cells contribute to memory formation is still unknown.

More interesting stuff. Related: How The Brain Rewires ItselfScientists Witness the Birth of a Brain CellNew Neurons in Old BrainsNo Sleep, No New Brain Cells

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