Восстановление мозга

Многие годы считалось, что все наши мозговые клетки (нейроны) образуются до рождения или, в редких случаях, до первого-второго года жизни, после чего, как предполагалось, процесс прекращается. С этого времени, считало большинство ученых, области мозга могли изменяться только путем изменения синапсов или контакта между существующими клетками. С этой точки зрения, полный набор клеток, анатомически организованных по функциям и формирующих основные дорожки, представляет собой «железо» мозга. Тогда как природа отношений между клетками, т.е. поддающиеся изменениям синапсы, являются «программным обеспечением».

В 1960-х годах появились первые доказательства того, что новые нейроны могут образовываться и после начального периода жизни, и даже в зрелости. Эти доказательства стали неоспоримыми в 1980-х годах, будучи основанными на наблюдениях, сделанных во время изучения частей мозга певчих птиц, ответственных за заучивание и воспроизведение выученных песен. Первоначальные наблюдения были встречены скептически, но полученные данные оказались весьма убедительными.

Так как же можно доказать, что нейрон рождается в определенное время? Каждая клетка тела содержит ДНК, ответственную за выработку протеинов, необходимых для функционирования клеток. Хотя все клетки тела содержат одинаковую ДНК, только одно подмножество генов, закодированных ДНК, выражается в каждом виде клеток, объясняя таким образом разницу между, скажем, клетками кожи, клетками печени и клетками мозга.

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