Don’t Sell Old Brains Short

It looks like the hippocampus is capable of generating new neurons after all—up to the ninth decade of life, according to a new study in Nature that may breathe new life into Alzheimer’s research.

The study, led by molecular neuropathologist María Llorens-Martín of Spain’s Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, contradicts earlier findings suggesting neurogenesis dies down after infancy. Sharon Begley vividly explains how molecular markers of neurogenesis—“as tricky to work with as soufflés in an earthquake”—could explain the discrepancy. 

The new research also shows that neurogenesis drops off sharply in people with Alzheimer’s disease—sparking interest in increasing neurogenesis for protection.

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