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Scientists Prove New Neurons Grow in Adult Brains

Neuroscientists at Karolinska Institute have proven that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus — a brain region crucial for memory and learning — are generated in adult humans.

What's the Latest Development?


Using a carbon dating process similar to that used by archeologists to identify the age of fossils, neuroscientists at Karolinska Institute have proven that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus — a brain region crucial for memory and learning — are generated in adult humans. Knowing that atomic bomb tests caused elevated atmospheric levels of carbon-14, a nonradioactive form of carbon, and that the concentration of carbon-14 has declined at a known rate since the nuclear test ban treaty was signed in 1963, measuring its concentration in DNA from the hippocampal neurons of deceased humans yielded data that could tag the age of neurons.

What's the Big Idea?

When we eat plants or animal products, we absorb both normal and heavy carbon at the atmospheric ratios present at that time, and the exact atmospheric concentration at any point in time is stamped into DNA every time a new neuron is born. Thus, neurons can be 'carbon dated' in a similar way to that used by archeologists. The recent study found that 1,400 new neurons in the dentate gyrus area of the brain are added each day — 1.75% per year — during adulthood, "and that this rate declines only modestly with age, suggesting that adult hippocampal neurogenesis may contribute to human brain function." 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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