Neurogenesis does not appear to be the reason why mice living in enriched environments tend to exhibit certain behavioral changes -- such as less anxiety -- relative to mice living in standard housing, according to a study published this week in Nature Neuroscience. The conclusion contradicts the recent hypothesis that neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, a region of the hippocampus, is the cause of certain behavioral effects of environmental enrichment, which also include improved learning. "This paper is very interesting," said Amelia Eisch, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who did not participate in the work. "It represents the next step in where the field of adult neurogenesis is going." To date, the study of adult neurogenesis has largely been correlative, Eisch explained. Earlier research had demonstrated that environmental enrichment -- housing mice in larger, more complex environments -- leads both to...

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