[Paleopsych] Neurogenesis in the Human Brain: Fact or Fiction (student paper)

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Wed Feb 16 05:59:55 UTC 2005

Imagine a world where scientists could implant new brain cells into areas 
of the brain that are damaged by disease or accidents. Imagine replacing 
brain cells lost to aging, or even enhancing areas of the normal brain. 
Recent newspaper headlines, such as "A Decade of Discovery Yields a Shock 
About the Brain" (1) and "Brain May Grow New Cells Daily" (2) have 
indicated such advances may be in the near future. How far-fetched are such 
In the past several years, evidence has emerged that challenges the 
longstanding belief that humans are born with all the brain cells, or 
neurons, they will ever have. Recent experiments on monkeys have shown that 
new neurons are continually added to the cerebral cortex throughout 
adulthood. Some believe that this finding will prove to be true in the 
human adult brain as well. One scientist compared such a change in view to 
a paradigm shift, described by Thomas Kuhn as occurring when one major 
scientific theory is replaced by another. (3) In this paper I examine 
recent research on neurogenesis in the brain and attempt to answer the 
question of whether such conclusions are merited. And I ask what would be 
the implications if the adult human brain could regenerate itself.

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