SCIENCE IS SO KEWL! Atomic Bombs Help Solve Mystery: Does the Adult Human Brain Produce New Neurons?
Atomic bombs help solve mystery: does the adult human brain produce new neurons?
June 9, 2013
A study in the journal Cell reveals that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus — a brain region crucial for memory and learning — are generated in adult humans.
“It was thought for a long time that we are born with a certain number of neurons, and that it is not possible to get new neurons after birth,” says senior study author Jonas Frisén of the Karolinska Institute.
But no one could check this, because there was no way to date the birth of neurons in humans.
To do that, Frisén and his team developed an innovative method for dating the birth of neurons that takes advantage of the elevated atmospheric levels of carbon-14, a nonradioactive form of carbon, caused by above-ground nuclear bomb testing more than 50 years ago.