Thursday, December 27, 2007

Brain Malfunction Explains Dehydration in Elderly

Lisa A Site About Surviving And Beating The Odds .

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Older people are at a higher risk of getting dehydrated because their brains underestimate how much they need to drink.

Researchers Dr. Michael A. Farrell, Prof. Gary Egan and Prof. Derek Denton of Melbourne Australia’s Howard Florey Institute discovered that a part of the brain called the mid cingulated cortex predicts how much water a person needs. In older people this region malfunctions.

The study involved 2 groups of people. The first consisted of individual’s age 65 to 74. The second included 21 to 30 year olds. All the participants were infused with salty water to make them thirsty and then allowed to drink as much as they wanted.
Though both groups were equally thirsty, the older people drank half as much as the younger ones.

Farrell and his colleagues used positron emission tomography (PET scan) to examine the brain of each of the participants. They found that in the older people, the mid cingulated cortex turned off much earlier by drinking small volumes.

The discovery explains why the elderly are at higher risk for dehydration and should act as a reminder to older people to be sure to drink sufficient amounts of water especially in warmer weather.

Dehydration is not something that should be taken lightly. Symptoms of dehydration include: headache, lethargy, and hallucinations. In extreme cases, it can cause death.

“Adults should drink about 8 glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration and physically active people may need to drink more,” said Farrell.

This article was reported by, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on:

No comments: