A reduction in the ability to generate new neurons in the brain has been suggested to contribute to cognitive decline with advanced age. In an outbred model strain of Long-Evans rats, cognitive performance as a function of age is variable in assessments of hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. Recent research indicates that greater hippocampal neurogenesis accompanies diminished cognitive abilities in older Long-Evans rats. These findings imply that the role of neurogenesis might change between youth and old age, and that further work is needed to understand the potential benefits and liabilities that new neurons may afford an aging brain.
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