Improve Cognition With New Neurons

The formation of new neurons in the adult brain, a process known as neurogenesis, has exciting implications for people suffering from mental illness and learning problems. Studies in the past have increased neurogenesis in the adult brain's hippocampus through interventions like exercise and enriched environments, but these strategies have additional effects on the brain that make it difficult to pinpoint precisely what increased neurogenesis does. A new study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center examines a more specific way to stimulate neurogenesis. The researchers found that stimulating adult neurogenesis specifically affects cognition and learning related to pattern separation.

Lead researcher Dr. Hen explains the significance of this study: "This paper, as a consequence, may stimulate a whole area of research in humans to try to determine who in the population may have a pattern separation deficit, and whether it is restricted to the emotional domain, or is present even while performing tasks devoid of emotional salience. Once these studies are done in humans, it may be possible to treat these people with specifically targeted drugs or more personalized therapies."

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis and its affect on pattern separation has potential for treating disorders like PTSD, panic disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia.

Read more: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110404/Researchers-develop-new-way-to...

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