Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain's Recuperative Powers May Be Greater Than Previously Thought

Date:
March 16, 2001
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
Contrary to long-held popular belief, our brains may not only produce new brain cells or neurons throughout life, but the newly generated neurons quickly become involved in the formation of new memories – a fact that may have positive implications for the recuperative powers of our own brains when damaged by stroke or other disease or trauma.

BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Contrary to long-held popular belief, our brains may not only produce new brain cells or neurons throughout life, but the newly generated neurons quickly become involved in the formation of new memories – a fact that may have positive implications for the recuperative powers of our own brains when damaged by stroke or other disease or trauma.

Related Articles


In a study published today in the March 15 issue of the journal Nature, Rutgers psychology professor Tracey J. Shors and Princeton psychology professor Elizabeth Gould found that newly generated neurons in the hippocampus area of animal brains help form new memories.

Despite what is generally believed, scientists in recent years have learned that the brains of vertebrate animals, a category ranging from amphibians to humans, continue to produce new neurons throughout life. What was not known was whether the newly generated cells are actively involved in memory formation.

To find out, Shors and Gould studied the thousands of neurons produced daily in the hippocampus area of rat brains, an area that controls a form of memory known as trace conditioning, in which the animal must learn to associate stimuli that are separated in time. The researchers discovered that when they reduced the production of new hippocampus cells via a drug inhibitor, the rats were no longer able to form certain types of new memories.

This occurred even though mature hippocampus neurons remained functionally intact. On the other hand, when the researchers stopped administering the drug inhibitor, thus restoring the hippocampus area's ability to generate new cells, the ability to acquire trace memories was also restored.

"It appears that the new neurons become involved in memory about a week to two weeks after they are generated and they are involved in memories normally handled by the hippocampus," says Shors.

The team also noted that the reduction of new hippocampal cells had no apparent effect on memory that depends on other parts of the brain.

Although the researchers studied only the hippocampus, their research implies that the brain's recuperative powers may be far greater than previously thought. "We've known for some time that the brain generates new cells throughout life," says Shors. "These results suggest that one of the functions of these new cells is related to the process of memory formation."

In an earlier study, the two researchers demonstrated the nostrum, "use it or lose it." In the earlier study of rat brains, they found that while most new brain cells die within weeks of their generation, putting them to work through hippocampal-related learning improved their survival rate.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Brain's Recuperative Powers May Be Greater Than Previously Thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010315075600.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2001, March 16). Brain's Recuperative Powers May Be Greater Than Previously Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010315075600.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Brain's Recuperative Powers May Be Greater Than Previously Thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010315075600.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins