Mending The Mind

Presents the views of neuroscience experts regarding the discovery that the cerebral cortex of man grows brain cells through adulthood. Comments by Fred Gage, a neurobiologist at Salk Institute; Opinion of Eric Kandel, university professor in psychiatry at Columbia University; Benefits of the discovery according to Ira Black, chairman of neuroscience at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

By PT Staff, published on January 1, 2000 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015


Scientists have long believed that the adult brain is hardwired and
inflexible. But the brain may be subject to change: Princeton researcher
Elizabeth Gould, Ph.D., and team have found that the cerebral cortex the
area of complex thought--grows new brain cells through adulthood, the
latest of several new studies to discover new neurons developing in the
brain. We asked three experts what this paradigm-shifting news holds for

"We know we can affect the body through diet and exercise. We are
now realizing we can also have control over the structure of our brain
and its function."

--Fred Gage, Ph.d.,

neurobiologist, Salk Institute

"The discovery opens up therapeutic possibilities. Instead of
transplanting cells, we can encourage the genesis of the patient's own
cells to replace those destroyed by damage or illness."

--Ira Black, M.D., chairman of neuroscience

at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

"Our challenge for the next decade is to see what role these new
cells have in enriching learning abilities in humans. We are working on a
more solid foundation for studying learning and memory."

--Eric Kandel, M.D., University Professor

in Psychiatry, Columbia University