Route 28 Summits

2006 Route 28 Summit Topic






Adult Neurogenesis, Stem Cells, and Aging

September 2-8, 2006

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Summit Topic:

To a large degree successful aging depends on the preservation of cognitive function and mental health. Surprisingly, the brain is trainable, and leading an active life reduces the risk of age-related cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative disease. Training has also measurable effects on the anatomy of the brain. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the activity-dependent structural plasticity are hardly understood. Brain stem cells and their contribution to trainable age-related structural plasticity are increasingly considered in this context and might provide a target for novel strategies to promote successful aging.

Cellular plasticity decreases with increasing age and so does adult neurogenesis. Aging might represent an increasing loss of plasticity and thus the ability to react to functional demands with appropriate adaptations on a structural and cellular level. Loss of stem cells throughout the brain might contribute to a reduced prognosis after injury, stroke, or other diseases affecting the brain. Neural stem cell biology is one of the fastest changing and growing fields of the neurosciences. To consider questions of adult neurogenesis and neural stem cell biology in the context of aging thus brings together two of the greatest current challenges in neurobiology. Some of the most accomplished experts from these fields have agreed to talk at Route28 in 2006 and an extraordinary spectrum of expertise and up-to-date information will be made accessible to the students.


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