- Only Human
Opening the Black Box of Neurogenesis
Every science writer loves a good challenge to dogma. I wish I had been in the working world in the spring of 1992, when one such intellectual overhaul happened in neuroscience. The dogma: Neurons, unlike most of the body’s cells, can’t be replenished. You’re born with just 100 billion of them and you better use them wisely. The challenge: Samuel Weiss and Brent Reynolds reported in Science that brain tissue taken from adult mice could be chemically coaxed into making new neurons.
“It left us speechless,” Weiss told the New York Times. Everybody else was pretty stunned, too. Over the next six years, other researchers confirmed that this so-called neurogenesis happens in the adult hippocampus of many