Healthy people in their 70s have just as many young nerve cells, or neurons, in a memory-related part of the brain as do teenagers and young adults, researchers report in the April 5, Cell Stem Cell. The discovery suggests that the hippocampus keeps generating new neurons throughout a person’s life.
The finding contradicts a study published in March, which suggested that neurogenesis in the hippocampus stops in childhood (SN Online: 3/8/18). But the new research fits with a larger pile of evidence showing that adult human brains can, to some extent, make new neurons. While those studies indicate that the process tapers off over time, the new study proposes almost no decline at all.
This research jibes well with recent Harvard mouse studies (Sinclair, David) into refilling declining NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) stores in living cells (Rewinding the clock, March 22, 2018) with the precursor enzyme, NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide). The two studies show evidence that longevity extension in humans is possible as the afore thought premise that neurogenesis ceases in childhood, may stay just as active into a human’s aging years, could prove there are exciting times ahead for human longevity study and the use of an NMN precursor enzyme to refill declining NAD+ in the cells.