Age-Related Brain Cell Loss Reversed In Animals

For the first time, scientists have shown that brain cell changes associated with aging and memory loss are potentially reversible in animals. The findings may lead to therapies that fight age-related loss of brain cells. The investigators found that by surgically reducing stress hormone production, the growth of new nerve cells was restored in the brains of aged rats to the same extent as it occurs in younger rats. These findings indicate that the ability of the brain to generate new nerve cells continues into old age, but that it is slowed down by high levels of stress hormones.

Nature Neuroscience October 1999;2:894-897.

COMMENT: Stress is a major source of illness. This is an interesting study that demonstrates, at least in rats, that reducing stress hormones allows brain cells to regenerate. Strategies that decrease sympathetic output in response to stress such as prayer and deep breathing and emotional clearing techniques will go a long way towards improving long term health.

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