Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
Caption: The birth of new neurons in the adult brain sharpens memory in rodents, but whether the same holds true for humans has long been debated. A study published by Cell Press June 6th in the journal Cell reveals that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus--a brain region crucial for memory and learning--are generated in adult humans. The researchers used a unique strategy based on the amount of carbon-14 found in humans as a result of above-ground nuclear testing more than half a century ago. The findings suggest that new neurons are born daily in the human hippocampus, offering the tantalizing possibility that they may support cognitive functions in adulthood.
Credit: Cell, Spalding et al.
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Related news release: Nuclear testing from the 1960s helps scientist determine whether adult brains generate new neurons