December 17, 2007
Aging Of Brain Thirst Area Cuts Water Consumption

Here is yet another reason brain aging is something we should figure out how to stop and reverse. The part of the brain that regulates thirst becomes inaccurate and underestimates water needs as we age.

Florey researchers Dr Michael Farrell, A/Prof Gary Egan and Prof Derek Denton discovered that a region in the brain called the mid cingulate cortex predicts how much water a person needs, but this region malfunctions in older people.

Dr Farrell said they infused old (age 65 to 74) and young (age 21 to 30) research participants with salty water to make them thirsty and then allowed them to drink as much water as they wanted.

“Although all participants had the same level of thirst, the older people only drank half as much water as the younger subjects,” Dr Farrell said.

“Using PET imaging we found in the older people, the mid cingulate cortex was ‘turned off’ much earlier by drinking small volumes.”

“This discovery helps explain why the elderly can become easily dehydrated,” he said.

As you age many processes in your brain start going awry. We need to develop biotechnologies to rejuvenate our brains. We'd become more productive, happier, and less hobbled by assorted maladies.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 December 17 10:18 PM  Aging Mechanisms

BCal said at December 19, 2007 9:50 PM:

Interesting. I suppose evolution could have selected for this. Access to drinking water would have been a major survival factor at various times and places in the past (not to mention the present), especially amongst desert dwellers and travelers. Older folks past reproduction age who are less thirsty, even to their own detriment, conserve water and increase the survival of their offspring. What other old age mental characteristics could be selected for?

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