Brain is capable of producing neurons even in old age, study says

There is time that science investigates until when it happens the neurogenesis – process by which new neurons are produced and that occurs mainly, in childhood. But two decades ago studies have shown that the birth of new cells extends into adulthood. And possibly the third age.

This is suggested by a research published Monday in the respected scientific journal  . In the study, conducted by Spanish scientists, samples of brain tissue were analyzed from people who had already died, all aged between 43 and 87 years. The researchers noted the presence of newborn neurons and a small variation of neurogenesis over time.

The research focused on analyzing the hippocampus, the area of ​​gray matter responsible, among other things, for storing and recovering our memories. It’s thanks to him that we remember our favorite childhood dishes, the feeling of starting a new school year or how amazing the first excursion with classmates was.

And it is also the region most affected by Alzheimer’s . To analyze how neurogenesis occurs between adults and the elderly who suffer from this cognitive disease, Spanish scholars also looked at pieces of the hippocampus of individuals between 52 and 97 years old who had the problem while they were alive. Predictably, they had a marked and progressive drop in the generation of new neurons.

The challenge of science is to find ways to reverse this decline – and, therefore, to curb Alzheimer’s. The main therapies studied so far focus on preventing the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brains of people with the disease. It masses in large quantities in the gray matter and prevents communication between the neurons, besides contributing to their death. So far, no drug developed was successful.

Spanish scientists believe that this new work calls attention to what other research has already warned: it is necessary to change the target. Perhaps the way to overcome Alzheimer’s is not to block beta-amyloid, but to find alternatives. For this, it is essential to keep investigating what happens in our brain.

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