Neurons regenerate most of our lives

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by Esteban Tejedor

Posted on November 13, 2020

Neurons regenerate most of our lives

It has always been said that the neurons that we have when we die are the same that we have when we are born. Our neural network does not regenerate and, for this reason, the weakening of our grey matter can cause memory loss, learning difficulties or different diseases. However, a study published in the journal "Nature Medicine" has shown that there is an area of the brain in which new neurons are born.

Llorens-Martín's team analysed brain tissue samples from 13 healthy donor subjects. In this way, they concluded that, although the rate of creation slows down over the years, the human being continues to generate neurons. This process is called hippocampal neurogenesis, and is common in healthy people in an area of the brain known as the dentate gyrus.

Studies on neuronal regeneration are not new. In fact, the creation of new neurons in mice and other small mammals has been shown to participate in the acquisition of new memories and in learning. In this way, hippocampal neurogenesis could also influence the acquisition of new memories and knowledge by the elderly.

And what about Alzheimer's patients?

In addition to the 13 healthy subjects, Llorens-Martín's team analyzed the brain tissues of 45 people with Alzheimer's. The results show that the number of new neurons decreases drastically in the initial stages of the disease to continue decreasing progressively as the disease progresses.

As the researcher explains, the new findings put new study paths on the table in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and specifically in the study of Alzheimer's disease. "If it were possible to increase the birth and maturation of new neurons in a similar way to how it is done in laboratory mice, new therapeutic possibilities could be opened that could be useful to palliate or slow down the progression of this disease", concluded the researchers.


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