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Memory and Brain Health

Memory and Brain Health

Human Brains Do Sprout New Cells According To Salk Study



La Jolla, CA – Like bubbles fizzing from fine champagne, it has long been assumed that our supply of brain cells steadily diminishes through our lives, never to be replenished. According to a landmark Salk study, however, new cells are born in human brains, even in mature individuals.

The results, published in the Nov. 1 issue of Nature Medicine, showed that new cells were generated in the brains of terminal cancer patients who had undergone a diagnostic procedure that labels actively dividing cells. Upon the patients' death, their brains were examined for presence of the diagnostic agent BrdU (for bromodeoxyuridine) which attaches to DNA in dividing cells.

"All of the patients showed evidence of recent cell division," said Salk Professor Fred H. Gage, senior author on the study. "It's interesting to note that this was not a particularly young or healthy group of people, so new cell growth may usually be even more prominent than we observed." (Salk, Nov 1, 1998)

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