Do longevity treatments make you more social?

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Would you be interested in a brain hack that makes you more social?

We all want to live a long and healthy life, and there is ongoing research trying to find treatments to extend your healthy life span. If you were going to live longer would that give you a different perspective on life? Would you take a different approach to the future, would it change how you socially interact?

The most robust increase of life span treatment are various forms of dietary restriction. The two main forms of dietary restriction are: calorie restriction (usually 25-40% reduction) or every-other-day fasting.

A new paper by Govic et. al., 2008 found that 3 weeks of calorie restriction (they tested 25% and 50%) increased social behavior. The dietary restricted rats were more social compared to the fully fed group. Overall the 25% calorie restricted animals were the most social among the three groups. Earlier research indicated that one week of calorie restriction did not change the degree of socialness, but this new paper finds that as little as three weeks results in an increase of social interactions.

The authors argue that the increased socialness was not due to a simple increase of activity level. Previous research has found in aged animals that have been on calorie restriction most of the lives that these animals are more active – but this is surmised to be due to the fact that they are healthier than their age matched full eating counter parts. From research I have been involved in with every-other-day fasting we did not observe increased activity in the acute period after induction of the dietary restriction in relatively young animals (and they cite several paper to further back up their argument).

The authors additionally add that this increased social activity observed in the dietary restricted groups is consistent with reduced anxiety that have been reported in several dietary restriction papers.

An interesting question then would be do other more pharmaceutically based interventions (e.g. resveratrol) that at least show some hints of increased life span also increase social activity? At a biochemical level does making you ‘younger’ than your age matched control group make you more social? Remember in most cases as organisms age they become less social.

I hope you all have a happy and socially active day.

6 comments for “Do longevity treatments make you more social?

  1. JI
    January 22, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    And what do the human case studies predict?

  2. Ward
    January 22, 2009 at 5:49 pm


    the baseline levels seem to be subhuman.

  3. CC
    January 23, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Is diet restriction known to work on human – increasing lifespan of human?
    The many studies mentioned here and elsewhere were done on lab animals which were kept in tightly controlled and clean environments, so one big difference between them and us is that that they don’t have to fight off many infections. I just remember that there was a study on dieting and recovery from cold/flu (?). Don’t know the details but briefly: people who went on a diet were more likely to get the flu and/or took longer to recover.
    If we going on diet restriction compromises our ability to fight off infections, wouldn’t that become more negative than beneficial?

  4. Ward
    January 23, 2009 at 8:46 am


    we don’t know if dietary restriction works in human. Very expensive and obviously long experiment to perform. It does work on flies, mice, rats, spiders, dogs, cows, etc, and there are ongoing primate studies. As for your second point if dietary restriction is started at the right age it seems to improve the immune system (but it is a complicated story). But you make a good point and there needs to be more research addressing your concern.