ICYMI: Boosting Human Neurogenesis May Be Answer to Alzheimer’s, Study Suggests

  • Published21 Dec 2023
  • Author Christine Won
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
Neural network artwork
iStock.com via synthetick

New research presented at Neuroscience 2023 tackles a decades-long controversy: whether adult human brains can birth new neurons.

Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons form in the brain — usually early in the developing brain for humans, though mice have some brain regions like the dentate gyrus that can still generate new neurons as adults. The dentate gyrus is a part of the hippocampus and contributes to memory formation, and in mice, has been shown to generate new neurons in adulthood that help differentiate between similar memories.

As neuroscientists remain divided on adult neurogenesis in humans, research presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in November provided examples of young neurons in the human dentate gyrus. These findings, while not yet peer reviewed, suggest boosting neurogenesis may be a potential treatment avenue for Alzheimer's disease.

Big Picture: While scientists remain split on human neurogenesis, some drugmakers are already jumping on the idea. Earlier this year, California-based Biomed Industries announced early clinical trial results evaluating a drug that improved neurogenesis in mice, which also reportedly boosted memory in people with moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Read More: Could newborn neurons reverse Alzheimer’s? The Economist

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