“It was thought for a long time that we are born with a certain number of neurons, and that it is impossible to get new neurons after birth,” said Professor Jonas Frisén who led the research, in a statement.
Published in the journal Cell, the research shows that a large number of new neurons are generated in the hippocampus in adult humans – the part of the brain involved in memory – something which has long been an issue of debate.
It has been assumed for some time that there is some production of new neurons in the adult brain and Frisén’s study sheds light on the extent of this regeneration.
“We provide evidence that there is substantial neurogenesis in the human hippocampus throughout life, suggesting that the new neurons may contribute to human brain function.”
The study showed that more than one-third of the neurons in the hippocampus are regularly renewed throughout life with around 1,400 neurons created every day.
Professor Frisen and his research team discovered this new evidence by measuring the amount of carbon-14 found in humans a result of nuclear testing during the 50s and 60s.
The strategy is unique and was developed by Frisén and his team.