Old age in mind: up to what age the brain produces new neurons?

A group of scientists from several institutions of Spain, found evidence of neurogenesis (new neurons) in the brain of men up to old age. In his article published in the journal Nature Medicine, the team describes the study of the brain of the recently deceased and their findings. Until what age does the brain create new neurons, scientists have argued over the last several years — as in what parts of the brain it happens.

Many studies in this area have focused on the hippocampus because this part of the brain most involved in storing memories, logic dictates that the new memories, no new neurons can not do, they will need to be stored somewhere. In addition, the hippocampus is one of the structures of the brain, which is damaged as a result of “robbing memory” of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Last year an international group of scientists came to the conclusion that neurogenesis in the hippocampus stops after childhood.

In his new work, the researchers report that proved the opposite: in fact, neurogenesis continues up to old age.

Scientists: neurogenesis continues to 87 years

Previous studies have shown that in the early stages of development, neurons contain a protein doublecortin, which can be seen under a microscope. Studies in Spain relied heavily on this information. Scientists have studied the bodies of the recently dead (within 10) after death and studied them under a microscope for signs of doublecortin.

Scientists report that found numerous examples of cells with doublecortin, which showed that the growth of new neurons occurred in the brains of people who died at the age of 43 to 87 years. Interestingly, these same tests were conducted on people who had Alzheimer’s disease, and examples of neurogenesis. This suggests that the disease not only robs people of old memories, but also prevents them from forming new ones.

The researchers also noted that they used a more rigorous approach to preservation of corpses than in previous works, and this could explain the difference in results. However, until the final answer to the question, to what age the brain remains capable of forming new neurons, no is only the first step to clarification.

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