Study finds brain continues to produce new cells into old age, contradicting recent findings

Photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times. 

Columbia University researchers recently found that the human brain continues to produce hundreds of new neurons every day, even into old age, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times.  

Led by Maura Boldrini, MD, PhD, a research scientist at Columbia University's department of psychiatry, researchers analyzed the hippocampus in the brains of 28 deceased people between the ages of 14 to 79 to see whether aging does affect neurogenesis.  

With neuroimaging technology, Boldrini and colleagues looked for neurons and stem cells in various stages of development, intermediate progenitor cells that would eventually become neurons, immature neurons that had not fully developed and new neurons, according to the article.  

"In all their samples the researchers found similar numbers of neural progenitor cells and immature neurons, regardless of age," according to the article. "This led them to conclude that the human brain continues to make neurons even into old age."  

The findings were published in Nature, one month after researchers from the University of California, San Francisco were unable to find evidence of neurogenesis after adolescence in humans.