A new study by Columbia University reveals that the brain continues to make hundreds of neurons, a process called neurogenesis, even after a person reaches their late 70s.
In the study published in Cell Stem Cell, lead author Dr. Maura Boldrini, of the university's psychiatry department, and her colleagues, looked into the process of neurogenesis by studying the brains of deceased individuals with ages ranging from 14 to 79.
The main goal of the research was to see how aging affects the production of neurons, a subject which has been up for much scientific debate for years.
Using the brains from the deceased individuals, they looked for evidence of neuron production in various stages of development, including stem cells, progenitor cells, which would eventually become neurons, immature neurons, and fully developed neurons.
By looking at the hippocampus, the part of the brain in charge of resiliency, emotional control, and memory, they tried to look for evidence of continued neuron production. Based on the results, immature neurons and progenitor cells did not vary irrespective of age, which means that the brain continues neurogenesis, even in older people. Hence, the brain can still produce neurons for individuals as old as 79.