Tag Archives: Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people

Cell Press research: Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people

8 Apr

Nexus online posted in Brain regeneration: why it’s real and how to do It:

Rewriting the Story of Brain Health
The field of cognitive neuroscience is relatively new — only around one hundred years old — so it’s no surprise that we are constantly arriving at a newer and better understanding of how the neural circuitry of the human brain supports overall brain functioning.
For most of those one hundred years, it was believed that once damaged, the brain could not regenerate. Brain cells were finite, and any loss or injury would be suffered as a deficiency for the rest of that person’s life. This created a false belief that the brain is essentially in a perpetual state of decline.
Although compelling evidence to the contrary was presented as early as 1960, medical dogma was (and is) slow to change. It wasn’t until the 1980’s when Fernando Nottebohm’s research at Rockefeller University clearly indicated that neurogenesis — production of new nerve cells, aka neurons — was taking place in the adult vertebrate brain.
The next big step in this scientific evolution would take more than thirty years. However, the pace of our understanding of how the brain is wired was about to take a quantum leap.
Our Elastic Brain
The growth of new neurons in an adult, mammalian brain was first seen in 1992, when scientists isolated neural stem cells from mice in a Petri dish. This regeneration was then replicated thousands of times in a variety of published studies over the next twenty-five years.
It is now accepted in the medical scientific community that the adult brain is capable of growing new neurons and glial cells, something previously disbelieved by the medical establishment. The brain is now considered to be resilient, pliable — plastic…. https://nexusnewsfeed.com/article/consciousness/brain-regeneration-why-it-s-real-and-how-to-do-it-1/

See, Get Smart: Brain Cells Do Regrow, Study Confirms https://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20000306/get-smart-brain-cells-do-regrow-study-confirms#1

Science Daily reported in Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people:

Researchers show for the first time that healthy older men and women can generate just as many new brain cells as younger people.
There has been controversy over whether adult humans grow new neurons, and some research has previously suggested that the adult brain was hard-wired and that adults did not grow new neurons. This study, to appear in the journal Cell Stem Cell on April 5, counters that notion. Lead author Maura Boldrini, associate professor of neurobiology at Columbia University, says the findings may suggest that many senior citizens remain more cognitively and emotionally intact than commonly believed.
“We found that older people have similar ability to make thousands of hippocampal new neurons from progenitor cells as younger people do,” Boldrini says. “We also found equivalent volumes of the hippocampus (a brain structure used for emotion and cognition) across ages. Nevertheless, older individuals had less vascularization and maybe less ability of new neurons to make connections.”
The researchers autopsied hippocampi from 28 previously healthy individuals aged 14-79 who had died suddenly. This is the first time researchers looked at newly formed neurons and the state of blood vessels within the entire human hippocampus soon after death. (The researchers had determined that study subjects were not cognitively impaired and had not suffered from depression or taken antidepressants, which Boldrini and colleagues had previously found could impact the production of new brain cells.)
In rodents and primates, the ability to generate new hippocampal cells declines with age. Waning production of neurons and an overall shrinking of the dentate gyrus, part of the hippocampus thought to help form new episodic memories, was believed to occur in aging humans as well.
The researchers from Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute found that even the oldest brains they studied produced new brain cells. “We found similar numbers of intermediate neural progenitors and thousands of immature neurons,” they wrote. Nevertheless, older individuals form fewer new blood vessels within brain structures and possess a smaller pool of progenitor cells — descendants of stem cells that are more constrained in their capacity to differentiate and self-renew…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180405223413.htm

Citation:

Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people
Date: April 5, 2018
Source: Cell Press
Summary:
Researchers show for the first time that healthy older men and women can generate just as many new brain cells as younger people.

Journal Reference:
1. Maura Boldrini, Camille A. Fulmore, Alexandria N. Tartt, Laika R. Simeon, Ina Pavlova, Verica Poposka, Gorazd B. Rosoklija, Aleksandar Stankov, Victoria Arango, Andrew J. Dwork, René Hen, J. John Mann. Human Hippocampal Neurogenesis Persists throughout Aging. Cell Stem Cell, 2018; 22 (4): 589 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.03.015

Here is the press release from Cell Press:

Public Release: 5-Apr-2018
Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people
Cell Press
Researchers show for the first time that healthy older men and women can generate just as many new brain cells as younger people.
There has been controversy over whether adult humans grow new neurons, and some research has previously suggested that the adult brain was hard-wired and that adults did not grow new neurons. This study, to appear in the journal Cell Stem Cell on April 5, counters that notion. Lead author Maura Boldrini, associate professor of neurobiology at Columbia University, says the findings may suggest that many senior citizens remain more cognitively and emotionally intact than commonly believed.
“We found that older people have similar ability to make thousands of hippocampal new neurons from progenitor cells as younger people do,” Boldrini says. “We also found equivalent volumes of the hippocampus (a brain structure used for emotion and cognition) across ages. Nevertheless, older individuals had less vascularization and maybe less ability of new neurons to make connections.”
The researchers autopsied hippocampi from 28 previously healthy individuals aged 14-79 who had died suddenly. This is the first time researchers looked at newly formed neurons and the state of blood vessels within the entire human hippocampus soon after death. (The researchers had determined that study subjects were not cognitively impaired and had not suffered from depression or taken antidepressants, which Boldrini and colleagues had previously found could impact the production of new brain cells.)
In rodents and primates, the ability to generate new hippocampal cells declines with age. Waning production of neurons and an overall shrinking of the dentate gyrus, part of the hippocampus thought to help form new episodic memories, was believed to occur in aging humans as well.
The researchers from Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute found that even the oldest brains they studied produced new brain cells. “We found similar numbers of intermediate neural progenitors and thousands of immature neurons,” they wrote. Nevertheless, older individuals form fewer new blood vessels within brain structures and possess a smaller pool of progenitor cells–descendants of stem cells that are more constrained in their capacity to differentiate and self-renew.
Boldrini surmised that reduced cognitive-emotional resilience in old age may be caused by this smaller pool of neural stem cells, the decline in vascularization, and reduced cell-to-cell connectivity within the hippocampus. “It is possible that ongoing hippocampal neurogenesis sustains human-specific cognitive function throughout life and that declines may be linked to compromised cognitive-emotional resilience,” she says.
Boldrini says that future research on the aging brain will continue to explore how neural cell proliferation, maturation, and survival are regulated by hormones, transcription factors, and other inter-cellular pathways.
###
This work was supported by the Stroud Center for Aging Studies at Columbia University, the National Institutes of Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the New York Stem Cell Initiative and the Diane Goldberg Foundation.
Cell Stem Cell, Boldrini et al.: “Human Hippocampal Neurogenesis Persists Throughout Aging” http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(18)30121-8
Cell Stem Cell (@CellStemCell), published by Cell Press, is a monthly journal that publishes research reports describing novel results of unusual significance in all areas of stem cell research. Each issue also contains a wide variety of review and analysis articles covering topics relevant to stem cell research ranging from basic biological advances to ethical, policy, and funding issues. Visit: http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell. To receive Cell Press media alerts, contact press@cell.com.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
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More on this News Release

Older adults grow just as many new brain cells as young people

Related Journal Article
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2018.03.015 https://sciencesources.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/cp-oag032918.php

Christopher Bergland wrote in Eight Habits that Improve Cognitive Function:

For this post, I did a meta-analysis of the most recent neuroscience studies and compiled a list of habits that can improve cognitive function for people from every generation. These eight habits can improve cognitive function and protect against cognitive decline for a lifespan.
Eight Habits that Improve Cognitive Function

Physical Activity
Openness to Experience
Curiosity and Creativity
Social Connections
Mindfulness Meditation
Brain-Training Games
Get Enough Sleep
Reduce Chronic Stress
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201403/eight-habits-improve-cognitive-function

For addition resources, see Allen Institute for Brain Science https://alleninstitute.org/what-we-do/brain-science/

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