Scientists’ Shocking Claims Put the Debate of Brain GROWTH to Rest
There have been a number of researches in the past which have stated that brain growth is not possible in adulthood – however, this fact has always seem to be a bit weird to all of us. How is it possible for the brain to not grow after a certain age? And what about the studies which claim that doing certain exercises or eating specific foods can change the brain structure and neural pathway even in adulthood? It turns out that the claim made by the father of modern neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal that the adult brain never makes new neurons still holds true.
Neurogenesis: Truth or Myth?
For many years, scientists were convinced that neurogenesis, the process through which new neurons are created, is only possible during the growth of the embryo and infanthood. But as time went by and more studies began to surface on the issue, scientists weren’t so sure if what they already knew about neurogenesis was actually true.
In the 80’s, researchers began challenging Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s claims that neurogenesis doesn’t occur in adults by showing evidence that certain activities can result in the formation of new neurons even in later stages of life.
Researcher Finds no Signs of Neurogenesis in Adults
The idea of neurogenesis is popularly-accepted and many exercises and ‘brain foods’ are advertised to grow brain cells – but the truth is, the production of fresh neurons in adulthood may not be possible after all. A recent study conducted in University of California drew a shocking conclusion that the brain does not experience any growth in adulthood no matter what the circumstances.
Alvarez-Buylla, the lead author of the study explained that through observing the brains of a large body of participants with different lifestyles, he is now convinced that adult neurogenesis is just a myth and may only occur in rare circumstances.
Alvarez-Buylla says that the process of neurogenesis isn’t as simple as most people had previously assumed; you can’t just start exercising out of the blue and expect the number of brain cells to grow. Mental health expert Heather Cameron argues that the age-old debate about adult neurogenesis continues to exist due to the difficulty in identifying young brain cells in some species.
Neurogenesis May Occur in Nonhuman Mammals
Alvarez-Buylla, through comparing brain scans of rats and humans, discovered that the continuous production of neurons in the olfactory bulb, a brain region responsible for smell, occurred only in rats and not in humans. A similar observation was made in the frontal lobe of the two mammals, an important part of the brain responsible for critical thinking and performing various other tasks. The researcher says that even though there is plenty of evidence of new neurons being formed in infants, the same cannot be said about adult humans.
Alvarez-Buylla was more interested in the region of the brain which has become a central focus for most neurogenesis-related researches: hippocampus. He studied the brains of more than a dozen deceased adults who had donated their bodies to scientific research. The researchers searched for any signs of telltale molecules, which are considered the markers for young neurons, in the hippocampal regions of the brain but found absolutely nothing. However, the observations from much younger brains showed traces of the telltale molecules, proving that neurogenesis does occur – but only in young brains.
Previous research has shown that humans aren’t quite as similar to other closely-related mammals. For example, the neural stem cells in a monkey’s hippocampus are beautifully laced together to form a ribbon-like pattern which is responsible for the production of new brain cells; however, this pattern is not present in human brains.
Critics of the study say that it is important to know the state of the participants before they died since certain factors like stress and physical activity can greatly affect neurogenesis in adulthood. Alvarez-Buylla agrees that more work needs to be done to determine whether brain cells are produced after infanthood; but for now, the important question remains: if our brains don’t really develop in adulthood, how do we learn new things?
More in Mental Health
Jade Roper’s had a Surprise-Birth, You Wouldn’t Believe Where
The Bachelor in Paradise couple, Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert melted viewers hearts when they fell in love on set. Jade and Tanner...August 8, 2019
Oprah Wants to Inspire You Not to Skip Workout While On Vacation
The world’s beloved talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, is known for her empathy towards others as well as her tell-it-all interviews...August 7, 2019
Serena Williams Shows Off Her Dress That’s For Every Kind Of Body
23 Grand Slam winner, Serena Williams, is a star on and off the tennis court. She has made headlines as a...August 7, 2019
Charlie’s Angels’ Jaclyn Smith is Looking Stunning In New Instagram Post
Who says you can’t look good when you’re in your seventies? Charlie’s Angels star Jaclyn Smith is an excellent example that you...August 6, 2019
Chrissy Teigen Reveals Her Cranky Mood On Instagram and What She Does to Overcome It
The 33-year-old supermodel and wife of John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, confessed to her fans on Instagram that she wasn’t feeling as good...August 6, 2019
Camila Cabello Stands Up To Body Shamers – “I’m Not Made Of Rock”
The famous singer of Señorita and Havana took a moment out of her busy schedule to write, in one of her...August 6, 2019
Bob Harper Wants To Share His Heart Attack Recovery Story With Biggest Loser Audience
Bob Harper, the famous trainer of the popular TV show Biggest Loser for a groundbreaking 16 seasons, revealed that he will be...August 5, 2019
Amy Schumer Is Proud of Her Post-Pregnancy Body, And So Are We!
Our beloved and funny comedian, Amy Schumer, is no stranger to showing the real and unedited version of herself. The new...August 5, 2019
Jameela Jamil Opens up About Her Eating Disorder and Dealing With Loneliness
At 33 years old, The Good Place Star Jameela Jamil doesn’t look a day over 21. We would never have guessed that Jameeli...August 5, 2019