(From Nature press release.) It is now generally accepted that new neurons are generated in the adult mammalian brain, but until now it has been unclear whether or not these neurons are essential for memory formation. This week [in Nature], Tracey Shors of Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, and colleagues present evidence that the addition of new neurons to the hippocampus of adult rats is essential for at least one form of memory-the kind concerning the timing of learned responses, and temporal relationships between events. "The results support the idea that it might, one day, be possible to add new, fully functional neurons into existing brain circuitry to treat diseases of the nervous system," says Jeffrey D. Macklis of Harvard Medical School in an accompanying News and Views article.

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  1. . Neurogenesis in the adult is involved in the formation of trace memories. Nature. 2001 Mar 15;410(6826):372-6. PubMed.