The adult brain was thought to be a slowly decaying organ, a sophisticated but flawed machine condemned to inevitable decline. Today we know that the brain is more plastic than previously assumed, as most prominently demonstrated by the constitutive birth of new neurons that occurs in selected regions of the adult brain, even in humans. However, the overall modest capacity for endogenous repair of the central nervous system (CNS) has sparked interest in understanding the barriers to neuronal regeneration and in developing novel approaches to enable neuronal and circuit repair for therapeutic benefit in neurodegenerative disorders and traumatic injuries. Scientists recently assembled in Baeza, a picturesque town in the south of Spain, to discuss aspects of CNS regeneration. The picture that emerged shows how an integrated view of developmental and adult neurogenesis may inform the manipulation of neural progenitors, differentiated cells, and pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic benefit and foster new understanding of the inner limits of brain plasticity.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Photo of Paola Arlotta

Dr. Arlotta is interested in understanding the molecular laws that govern the birth, differentiation and assembly of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls how we sense, move and think. She integrates developmental and evolutionary knowledge to investigate therapies for brain repair and for modeling neuropsychiatric disease.

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