While there has long been discussion whether exposure to anesthesia affects brain development, new Rush University Medical Center research published in the journal Cerebral Cortex describes how prenatal anesthesia in rats seems to disrupt the ‘precisely choreographed’ and timed migration of neurons to the area of the developing brain where thinking, memory and language occur.
Directly activating a gene important to exciting our excitatory neurons and associated with major depression may help turn around classic symptoms like social isolation and loss of interest, at least for males, scientists report.
Adults well into their 70s can generate hundreds of new neurons a day — just as much as young people — according to a study that disputes previous findings that brain activity slows down as people age.
The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats — including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but their activity also needs to be tempered since an overreaction can lead to too much inflammation and permanent tissue damage.
The discovery that the human brain continues to produce new neurons in adulthood challenged a major dogma in the field of neuroscience, but the role of these neurons in behavior and cognition is still not clear.