Studies have been done since years ago to show that the adult brain does not develop new neurons. But now a new study, published in Cell Stem Cell, where the lead author Maura Boldrini, says the findings suggest that the brain of many people in the elderly remains intact cognitively and emotionally much more than is believed.

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“We discovered that older people have a capacity similar to that of younger people, to generate thousands of new neurons in the hippocampus from progenitor cells,” Boldrini explains, “and we also discovered that the volume of the hippocampus (a brain structure linked to the emotion and cognition) were very similar at different ages, however, older individuals had less vascularization and new neurons, less ability to make connections. ”


To arrive at this conclusion, Boldrini’s team performed a hippocampal analysis of 28 healthy individuals between 14 and 79 years old who had died suddenly. This was the first time that researchers observe newly formed neurons and the state of blood vessels throughout the human hippocampus shortly after death.

The researchers found that even the brains of the older people they studied produced new brain cells. “We discovered similar numbers of intermediate neuronal progenitors and thousands of immature neurons – the authors conclude in the study -. However, older people form fewer new blood vessels within the brain structures and have a smaller group of progenitor cells, descendants of stem cells that have a more limited ability to differentiate and self-renew. ”

According to Boldrini, future research on brain aging will continue to explore how the proliferation, maturation and survival of neuronal cells are regulated by hormones, transcription factors and other intercellular pathways.

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Studies have been done since years ago to show that the adult brain does not develop new neurons. But now a new study, published in…