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Newborn neurons in the adult brain are critical for learning and memory

New­born Neu­rons — Even in the Adult Aging Brain — Are Crit­i­cal for Mem­o­ry (Sci­ence Dai­ly):

New­ly gen­er­at­ed, or new­born neu­rons in the adult hip­pocam­pus are crit­i­cal for mem­o­ry retrieval, accord­ing to a study led by Stony Brook Uni­ver­si­ty researchers…Previous research… has demon­strat­ed that new­born neu­rons form con­nec­tions with exist­ing neu­rons in the adult brain. To help deter­mine the role of new­born neu­rons, Dr. Ge and col­leagues devised a new opto­ge­net­ic tech­nique to con­trol new­born neu­rons and test their func­tion in the hip­pocam­pus, one of the regions of the brain that gen­er­ates new neu­rons, even in the adult aging brain. The find­ings sup­port the idea that the gen­er­a­tion of new neu­rons in the brain may be cru­cial to nor­mal learn­ing and mem­o­ry process­es. “Our find­ings could also shed light on the diag­no­sis and treat­ment of con­di­tions com­mon to the adult aging brain, such as demen­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease,” he said.

Study: Opti­cal con­trol­ling reveals time-depen­dent roles for adult-born den­tate gran­ule cells  (Nature Neu­ro­science).

  • From the Abstract: Accu­mu­lat­ing evi­dence sug­gests that glob­al deple­tion of adult hip­pocam­pal neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis influ­ences its func­tion and that the tim­ing of the deple­tion affects the deficits. How­ev­er, the behav­ioral roles of adult-born neu­rons dur­ing their estab­lish­ment … remain large­ly unknown…Our results iden­ti­fy a restrict­ed time win­dow for adult-born neu­rons essen­tial in hip­pocam­pal mem­o­ry retrieval.

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Pic cour­tesy of Big­Stock­Pho­to

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