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As we age, our ability to learn things and form new memories decreases. Navigation, which incorporates multiple cognitive processes including memory, attention, and our perception of direction and distance, becomes particularly difficult with aging. Findings from a recent study suggest that increasing adult neurogenesis may improve navigation capacity in older mice.

Neurogenesis is the process of forming new neurons. It is essential during embryonic development, but also continues in certain brain regions throughout human lifespan to facilitate learning and memory formation.

The study authors increased the expression of Cdk4/cyclinD1, a multi-protein complex that governs the cell cycle and its progression, in neural stem and progenitor cells (NSC) to enhance both their cell cycle activity and proliferation in mice. This increased neurogenesis in the animals' brains and improved their ability to perform navigation skills.

These findings suggest that age-related cognitive impairments may be reversed in old age by tapping into the brain’s neurogenic processes.

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