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Stem Cell Roundup

December 12, 2008

Getting on the treadmill could help keep you smart.


Exercising your brain cells. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The hippocampus is a part of the brain involved in learning. A new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology reveals that in middle-aged rats, physical exercise helped the hippocampus replenish itself with new stem cells. Stem cells are young, flexible cells that can be shaped into more specialized cells—for example, brain cells that store memories. According to the new study, exercise doubled the production of the stem cells, and prolonged the life of new brain cells.

In related news, a study in the journal Lancet reports on the transplant of a trachea, or windpipe. It was taken from a cadaver, all the original cells were removed, and it was re-populated with the recipient’s own stem cells, taken from her bone marrow. The cells turned into trachea cells and remained healthy when the windpipe was transplanted into the patient. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.