Neurobiology: Old Brains, New Tricks

Until Fred Gage came along, brain scientists accepted as a matter of faith that the neurons, or brain cells, you were born with were all the brain cells you would ever have. Then, two years ago, this 49-year-old neurobiologist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., showed in a groundbreaking experiment that neurons are constantly being born, particularly in the learning and memory centers. Gage's discovery forced scientists to rethink some of their most basic ideas about how the brain works.

Even more exciting was the fact that the source of these new cells was neural-stem cells,...

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