Evidence of Adult Neurogenesis Even in Late Life
In the past few years, there has been a heated debate about whether or not adult humans can generate new neurons in their brains. This process is known as neurogenesis. This process has been well-studied in mice and is thought to play a major role in maintaining and preserving brain tissue. Due to the difficulties of working with living brain tissue, the human data was always limited. It was believed that mouse data would be representative of neurogenesis in mammals. The publication of an in-depth study that appeared to rule out neurogenesis among adult humans caused some controversy. It also prompted other teams to examine the human brain more rigorously than they had previously.
All of the studies that have been published to date show adult neurogenesis. The regenerative medicine field has spent a lot of time and effort on the possibility of regulating neurogenesis to repair central nervous system injuries or to partially reverse cognitive decline in the aging mind. This study is particularly encouraging, because it shows that there are still signs of new neurons being produced in the brain even at very old age.