Good news for ‘old’ chess players!
SOME BRAIN CELLS CONTINUALLY RE-GENERATE THEMSELVES!
The hippocampus is a small but important part of our brain, necessary for processing memories (short-term and long-term) and intricately related to the learning process. Scientists have recently discovered that an area within this vital brain region actually regenerates up to 700 neurons a day, even as we get older. This is going to change the way scientists look at the aging process.
‘ Nuclear bomb tests carried out during the cold war have had an unexpected benefit. A radioactive carbon isotope expelled by the blasts has been used to date the age of adult human brain cells, providing the first definitive evidence that we generate new brain cells throughout our lives. The study also provides the first model of the dynamics of the process, showing that the regeneration of neurons does not drop off with age as sharply as expected…
But looking at the hippocampus in 55 post-mortem brains aged between 19 and 92, the team has now found that a subset of neurons in an area of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus are indeed created throughout adulthood. In effect, a small population of our brain cells remains permanently young, renewing itself continually. By modelling the process, the team estimated that we generate around 700 new neurons every day…’
Lasker, Smyslov and Korchnoi continued to play worldclass chess despite advancing age.
This news radically changes the accepted scientific opinion that I had heard all of my life, namely that as we get older our brain becomes increasingly limited in its capacities, mostly because of the number of brain cells dieing. While the most recent study does not deny that many brain cells die and are never renewed, that part of the brain that is so necessary for chessplayers actually sees neurons being replaced daily!
So look out, youngsters! Don’t count me out yet!!