MYTH BUSTED: Adults DO Grow New Brain Cells

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jjstar
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12 Dec 2007, 4:28 pm

The Adult brain cells stop growing myth

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Since there are still a big number of things we fail to understand about our brain it is somewhat understandable that such theories appear. They turn into myths and thanks to the oh so well documented media everybody thinks that they are true; and such a belief is hard to shatter even when it reffers to something untrue.

This could just be the case here. The fact that after a man has reached adulthood his brain cells stop growing is just not true. Researchers at MIT led by Wei-Chung Allen Lee have showed this. In fact the busting of this myth means proving that adult brain cells, or neurons, are not largely static and that they are able to change their structures in response to new experiences. The study they made showed that the branch-like projections on some neurons, called “dendrites,” were still physically malleable.

They conduct electricity received from other neurons to the parent neuron’s cell body. The changes occurred both incrementally and in short bursts, and involved both growth and shrinkage. The results were surprising. A dendrite was able to double its length in two weeks. In the early years of your life you manufacture an estimated 250,000 neurons per minute and then spend the next few years wiring them together. The myth assumes that plasticity settles down when you reach adulthood.

“The scale of change is much smaller than what goes on during the critical period of development, but the fact that it goes on at all is earth-shattering,”said study co-author Elly Nedivi, a neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

They studied interneurons which were not studied before; these interneurons make up about 20 to 30 percent of the neocortex (the part of your brain responsible for higher functions) and on average, about 14 percent of the interneurons they observed showed structural modifications. So this myth is not true.

http://www.zmescience.com/the-adult-bra ... owing-myth


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EvilKimEvil
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12 Dec 2007, 4:31 pm

There are a lot of myths about the brain that keep circulating despite evidence to the contrary. Thank you for providing that information!



alphacent
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12 Dec 2007, 4:37 pm

Thanks for the information!



scumsuckingdouchebag
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12 Dec 2007, 4:53 pm

I'm glad to hear this.



psychedelic
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12 Dec 2007, 6:47 pm

Good news for Aspies. We can start rewiring our brains a bit and not be delusional for thinking it's possible.


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poopylungstuffing
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12 Dec 2007, 7:06 pm

WooT! What a relief...



A350XWB
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12 Dec 2007, 8:03 pm

It could explain, in part, some late-bloomer cases...



JasonWilkes
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12 Dec 2007, 8:11 pm

Hot stuff!



2ukenkerl
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12 Dec 2007, 8:46 pm

Gee, I said the same thing a while ago. In fact, the brain has stem cells in it! By some accounts, that is why people have said we only use 10% of our brains. Some say we use LESS than 10%!

http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics4.asp



johnpipe108
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12 Dec 2007, 11:08 pm

It's good to hear that science is making these discoveries, it's something I've been wondering about from an Eastern philosophical viewpoint. Like what psychedelic said, I've been thinking about the possible abilities of our minds to change our brains.

jjstar, may I quote your original post to an e-list I belong to, [email protected]? We are a group of spiritually oriented folk, many of whom have some "differences", and naturally some are the parents of autistic children. I'm an adult aspie myself, born the same year Asperger released his report.

Thanks



becca423b
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12 Dec 2007, 11:24 pm

I think the myth stems from the fact that the brain cannot actually regenerate lost cells or create new cells. You will never have more brain cells than you started with. Once your spinal cord is severed, it will not grow back. Once neurons are destroyed due to disease, they will not grow back. Interestingly enough, neurons outside the CNS are capable of regenerating axons, whereas those inside are not.

Because I don't think this is anything new.....it is taught in every physiology class across the country. The ablility of the brain to change with life experiences is called "neuroplasticity". For example, learning a new language creates new connections, and doing lots of drugs destroys connections. It is also a "use it or lose it" kind of thing. If you don't challenge your brain to keep up it's connections and make new ones, they will be destroyed.



becca423b
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12 Dec 2007, 11:32 pm

Wait, so actually the title of this post is inaccurate: adults do NOT grow new brain cells. The cells they already have are plastic and can grow new connections. Except not axons....those cannot be regrown.



2ukenkerl
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13 Dec 2007, 7:06 am

The idea of neurons growing is one that has been around for perhaps centuries. The one about stem cells has been officially recognized for less than 20 years. Although it does NOT grow new nerves for like muscles, etc... It grows new neurons for processing. They are in the head, and stay there, but they change into what is needed.



Last edited by 2ukenkerl on 13 Dec 2007, 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

fresco
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13 Dec 2007, 8:43 am

JJStar great post! Theres hope for my brain yippee!!



monty
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13 Dec 2007, 11:16 am

2ukenkerl wrote:
Gee, I said the same thing a while ago. In fact, the brain has stem cells in it! By some accounts, that is why people have said we only use 10% of our brains. Some say we use LESS than 10%!

http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics4.asp


That 10% figure is another myth. People think they could somehow train themselves to use the other 90%. But I don't want every nerve cell firing all the time!