question about human anatomy and psychology?

i was going over old anatomy notes from HS and saw that every cell in the human body dies and is replaced with a new one. Does this include brain cells as well?
if it does how do you remain "yourself" how does you personality and memory remain if the cells that carry the information die off.
the body you had as a child is completely different from the one you have as an adult but your mind is the same. how does this work.

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3 comments

  • I’d say its a somewhat over simplification to say that ‘every cell in the human body dies and is replaced with a new one’.
    There are populations of cells within the body that don’t seem to have the ability to regenerate. Heart, skeletal muscle, and brain all have (at best) a very limited ability to regenerate.

    Although, even if neural cells did have the ability to be ‘turned over’ like you suggest, then all that would be required to maintain the ‘self’ would be for the connections that the new cell made to be the same as the old cell had.

  • It is my understanding that the brain is the only organ that does not regenerate. Once the cells are dead, that’s it. Interestin’, ain’t it? My guess would be this is true for exactly the reason you note.

  • Brain cells and, in fact, the entire neural system have very limited re-growth, if any. Neurons and brain cells do not devide or replicate, but occasionally damaged axons can slowly re-grow.

    During a sensative age (i.e. age of plasticity, when a young child your brain is still growing) the brain can recover somewhat from damage – although this is more a case of continuing to grow new cells rather than replacing the damage ones, but otherwise brain damage or nerve damage (i.e. people with a paralysed limb caused by an accident) is irreversable because these cells do not get replaced and so cannot heal the damage.

    So, basically, your brain does not get replaced with new cells.

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