Inside a monkey's noggin

October 25, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle, which was published Oct. 18.

CAN AN old brain learn new tricks? Two researchers believe the human cranium can generate fresh cells, dispelling old theories that an aging brain cannot reproduce the working parts needed for memory, learning and personality.

The finding has major implications for treating brain disease and aging. In this case, monkey brains -- and human ones by extension -- were thought to have a set amount of cells, known as neurons, on the outside surface of the brain where intellectual functions are done.

Now comes a study saying the complete opposite -- a soup of new neurons arrives daily to freshen the machinery.

The brain may be no different than other organs that can regenerate. Can the fountain of youth be far off?

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