Research NewsNeurobiology

No-New-Neurons Dogma Loses Ground

Science  27 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5359, pp. 2041-2042
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5359.2041

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Both popular and scientific wisdom have held that the brain neurons we form when we're young have to last a lifetime because adult brains can't make new neurons. But last week, a research team reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that adult marmoset monkeys make new neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with learning and memory. Although previous work had shown that lower species produce brain neurons throughout their lives, some neuroscientists have hailed the new result, because it is the first evidence that the same may be true for primates--perhaps even humans. If further work confirms that the adult human brain can make new neurons, and if these cells join existing functional networks in the brain, it may open the door to repairing brain damage from disease or trauma by enhancing new neuron formation.