Image of the Week

Feeling Thirsty?

  • Published30 Jul 2018
  • Reviewed30 Jul 2018
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Image of a lamina terminalis in a mouse
Oka lab; CalTech, Pasadena

Have you ever woken up in the morning, mouth dry, desperate for a glass of water? The human brain is 73 percent water, and we need to drink plenty of it to live. Thirst is your brain’s way of saying “it’s time to hydrate.” And thirst is regulated by this small section of the brain, called lamina terminalis (pictured here in a mouse). Scientists have recognized the role the lamina terminalis plays in keeping our fluids in balance for decades, but only recently have they begun to map the circuits that regulate these complex behaviors. They’ve even learned how to turn off the circuits that let mice know it’s time to stop drinking!

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