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Sexually Starved Fruit Flies Lead Frustrated And Shorter Lives

Update Date: Nov 29, 2013 08:47 AM EST

Fruit flies that have regular sex, lead a more peaceful and longer lives, a new study finds.

Study performed by a team of researchers at University of Michigan concluded that fruit flies that were involved in less frequent sex activities faced rapid decrease in their fat stores. Their resistance of starvation decreased hence increasing the stress and subsequently leading shorter lives.

“Our findings give us a better understanding about how sensory perception and physiological state are integrated in the brain to affect long-term health and lifespan,” senior author Scott D. Pletcher, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the U-M Medical School and research professor at the U-M Geriatrics Center said, via a press release.

“The cutting-edge genetics and neurobiology used in this research suggests to us that for fruit flies at least, it may not be a myth that sexual frustration is a health issue. Expecting sex without any sexual reward was detrimental to their health and cut their lives short.”

Researchers used sensory manipulations to give the common male fruit fly named Drosophila melanogaster. The sensory manipulations involved the perception that they were in a sexually rich environments. They exposed them to genetically engineered males that also produced female pheromones.

“These data may provide the first direct evidence that aging and physiology are influenced by how the brain processes expectations and rewards,” Pletcher concluded. “In this case, sexual rewards specifically promoted healthy aging.”

The developments of the study is published online in the journal of Science.

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