For a small fold of tissue, the hippocampus has an outsized influence. It stores and retrieves human memories, capturing the life history that makes us who we are. It is also one of the brain areas most affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which robs people of those memories.
And some research has hinted that new neurons might be born there throughout adult life, in a process called neurogenesis.
But this idea is hotly debated, in part because well-preserved samples of human brain tissue are rare, and techniques to identify immature neurons vary. Last year, a paper in Nature made the case that neurogenesis in the hippocampus is not seen beyond childhood in humans (S. F. Sorrells et al. Nature 555, 377–381; 2018).
A study published this week in Nature Medicine extends the controversial debate (E. P. Moreno-Jiménez et al. Nature Med.https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0375-9; 2019). Working with post-mortem brain tissue from healthy adults aged 43–87, the team reports seeing newborn neurons and a modest decline in neurogenesis with age
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