Harvard Men's Health Watch

Can you grow new brain cells?

The science of neurogenesis suggests it's possible to create neurons that improve your memory and thinking skills.

can you grow new brain cells
Image: Decade3d/ Thinkstock

There are many aspects of aging you cannot prevent, but surprisingly, memory trouble is not one of them.

"The dogma for the longest time was that adult brains couldn't generate any new brain cells. You just use what you were born with," says Dr. Amar Sahay, a neuroscientist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "But the reality is that everyone has the capacity to develop new cells that can help enhance cognitive functions."

In this process, called neurogenesis, new neurons (brain cells) develop in the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for learning information, storing long-term memories, and regulating emotions.

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