Thirst and Drinking Paradigms: Evolution from Single Factor Effects to Brainwide Dynamic Networks

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When a person is thirsty, a drink of water can be very satisfying, but after the thirst has been quenched, drinking more can be unpleasant. New research reveals the root of these experiences in the brain. Researchers scanned the brains of people as they drank water. Brain areas involved in emotional decision-making lit up in the scanner when people drank in response to feeling thirsty, whereas regions involved in controlling movement kicked in when people forced themselves to keep drinking after quenching their thirst. These brain circuits probably evolved to prevent people from drinking too much water, resulting in dangerously low sodium levels, the researchers reported today March 24 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The instinct for thirst in humans and other animals likely evolved when vertebrates animals with backbones colonized land during the Ordovician period, about million years ago. Thirst ensures that creatures maintain a balance of hydration and nutrients, such as sodium, that are vital to the healthy functioning of cells. But what's going on inside the human brain when a person drinks to satisfy a thirst?

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Aim out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The motivation to seek and consume dampen is an essential component of being fluid—electrolyte homeostasis, optimal function, and fitness. This review describes the evolution of concepts regarding thirst and drinking behavior, made possible by magnetic resonance imaging, animal models, and novel laboratory techniques. The earliest thirst paradigms focused arrange single factors such as dry aperture and loss of water from tissues. By the end of the 19th century, physiologists proposed a thirst center in the brain that was verified in animals 60 years later. All through the early- and mids, the influences of gastric distention, neuroendocrine responses, circulatory properties i. Following a quarter century — of human brain imaging, contemporary research focuses on networks of networks, with thirst and satiety conceived at the same time as hemispheric waves of neuronal activations so as to traverse the brain in milliseconds.