The purpose of this study was to investigate age-related differences in cutaneous temperature thresholds for warm thermal sensitivity in a thermoneutral (28°C) and in a cool environment (22°C). Peripheral warm thresholds were measured on nine body regions (cheek, chest, abdomen, upper arm, forearm, hand, thigh, shin, and foot) using a thermal stimulator in 12 young (22±1 years) and 13 elderly male subjects (67±3 years). The results showed that: (1) mean skin temperature did not differ by age in both environments; (2) the cutaneous warm thresholds for the hand, shin, and foot were significantly higher for the elderly than for the young in both environments (p<0.01), whereas the remaining body parts showed no age difference; (3) the most insensitive region for elderly males was the shin for both environments (p<0.01), while for young there was no statistical significant difference with Ta 28°C; (4) the shin of the elderly was seven and nine times less sensitive to warmth when compared to those of the cheek at Ta 28 and 22°C, respectively; and (5) warm thresholds were 3-4°C greater at Ta 22°C than at 28°C, only for the elderly males' shin and foot (p<0.05), while for young the difference between Ta 22 and 28°C was not statistically significant. The results indicate that age-related differences in cutaneous warm perception appear to be non-uniform over the body and significant on extremities; there is a greater bluntness of warm sensitivity in the cool environment for elderly males.
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