I was recently discussing neurology with a friend in med school and I happened to mention how neurons can regenerate in the hippocampus. Of course, I got laughed at because everyone knows that we are born with all the gray matter we’ll ever need. Not only is it common knowledge, it’s being taught in medical schools around the world and being printed in the latest textbooks. However, whether the textbook writers know it or not, like so many other dogmas of medicine, this one has been resigned to the dusty, glass display cases of phrenology devices and textbooks on mesmerism.
Though the research leading to this new discovery was a massive collaboration, the most recognized leader in the field is Dr. Elizabeth Gould of Princeton. Here is an excerpt from the Princeton Weekly:
“For the past several decades, scientists believed that brain cells were a finite resource; that unlike other cells in the body, those in the brain did not regenerate. But psychology professor Elizabeth Gould recently proved such is not the case for the hippocampal formation of the brain in Old World monkeys, primates closely related to man. And Fred Gage at the Salk Institute in La Jolla has showed that adult humans also generate new neurons in their hippocampus. These discoveries, along with Gould’s later findings about the relationship between learning and neuronal regeneration, could change the way scientists look at the brain.” Continuing Reading