Magazine article Science News

New Brain Cells Aid Memory Recall: Neurogenesis in Hippocampus Affects Rodents' Learning Ability

Magazine article Science News

New Brain Cells Aid Memory Recall: Neurogenesis in Hippocampus Affects Rodents' Learning Ability

Article excerpt

Old memories may get the boot from brand-new brain cells.

A rodent study shows that newborn neurons destabilize established connections among existing brain cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory. Clearing old memories from the hippocampus makes way for new learning, researchers from Japan suggest in the Nov. 13 Cell.

Others had proposed the idea that neurogenesis, the birth of new neurons, may disrupt old memory circuits, but this is the first evidence to support the idea, says Paul Frankland of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Memories form in the hippocampus and eventually are transferred to long-term storage in other parts of the brain. For some time, a memory resides both in the hippocampus and elsewhere. What's not known is how the memory is gradually cleared from the hippocampus. Researchers also debate the role of neurogenesis in learning and memory. The hippocampus is one of only two places in the adult brain where new neurons are known to form. …

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