Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Emily Singer

A View from Emily Singer

Boosting Brain Power

Breaking news from the biggest neuroscience meeting in the world

  • October 17, 2006

One of the biggest neuroscience discoveries of the past ten years is the fact that new neurons are born in the brain throughout our lives. In fact, 1,000 new cells are produced every day in the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in learning and memory. Now scientists are trying to figure out how we can maximize the benefits that these cells bring, potentially boosting brain power and slowing cognitive decline.

Most of the new cells born in the adult brain die within weeks. But according to new research, learning can help those cells survive. “Good learners retain more new cells than bad learners do,” says Tracey Shors, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University who presented her work at the Society for Neurosciences conference in Atlanta this week. “Something about the learning process keeps these things from dying.” The findings, based on research in rats, could help explain why people who stay mentally active later in life seem to experience a delay in cognitive decline.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.