Saturday, June 7, 2008

More about neurogenesis

There are some other posts here that include the topic of neurogenesis:
1. History of Neuroplasticity
2. And it's about brain parts: like hippocampus
3. Nervous Systems Basics VIII: PLASTICITY

Here is a new study on the matter; Spatial Relational Memory Requires Hippocampal Adult Neurogenesis.

Abstract: The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is one of the few regions of the mammalian brain where new neurons are generated throughout adulthood. This adult neurogenesis has been proposed as a novel mechanism that mediates spatial memory. However, data showing a causal relationship between neurogenesis and spatial memory are controversial. Here, we developed an inducible transgenic strategy allowing specific ablation of adult-born hippocampal neurons. This resulted in an impairment of spatial relational memory, which supports a capacity for flexible, inferential memory expression. In contrast, less complex forms of spatial knowledge were unaltered. These findings demonstrate that adult-born neurons are necessary for complex forms of hippocampus-mediated learning.
(Thank you, Deric Bownds at Mindblog.)

The best general reader book I've found on the topic of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis is the one by Sharon Begley, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves .

The best general reader book I ever found on the topic of spatial brainmaps is Sandra Blakeslee's book,The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better. (This same author helped Ramachandran write his now-classic Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind.)

Both these authors' books have been discussed or the authors have been interviewed by Ginger Campbell at Brainscience Podcast; there are links to a discussion of Sharon Begley's book (episode 10), and Sandra Blakeslee's interview (episode 23, also #21), and others on neuroplasticity.

More reading:
1. The Reinvention of Self, a 2006 article by Jonah Lehrer in Seed about Elizabeth Gould's pioneering research into neurogenesis in marmosets

1 comment:

Lewis said...

I would also recommend a conversation between Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman called 'Training the Brain' which available at