Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Signals from stroking have direct route to brain

14.04.2009
Nerve signals that tell the brain that we are being slowly stroked on the skin have their own specialised nerve fibres in the skin.

This is shown by a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The discovery may explain why touching the skin can relieve pain.

The specialised nerve fibres in the skin are called CT nerves (C-tactile) and they travel directly to the areas in the brain that are important in the emergence of feelings.

"Basically the signals that tell the brain that we are being stroked on the skin have their own direct route to the brain, and are not blocked even if the brain is receiving pain impulses from the same area. In fact it's more the opposite, that the stroking impulses are able to deaden the pain impulses," says Line Löken, postgraduate student in neurophysiology at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The results are being published in the distinguished scientific journal, Nature Neuroscience. The research group examined a group of healthy subjects using a technique called microneurography.

"By inserting a thin electrode into a nerve in the forearm we can listen in on the nerve and pick up signals from one of the thousands of nerve fibres that make up a nerve," explains Associate Professor Håkan Olausson, who is leading the research group behind the discovery, together with Johan Wessberg.

Each individual nerve fibre is responsible for touch signals from roughly a square centimetre of skin. The research team used a specially-designed robot, which brushed over the exact area of skin for which a particular nerve fibre is responsible. The subjects were also asked to rate how pleasant or unpleasant they found the brushing.

"As the nerve signals that were sent in the CT nerves became more frequent, the subjects reported the experience as being increasingly pleasant. Of the skin nerves that we studied, it was only the CT nerves that had this strong link between the frequency of the signals and how pleasant it felt," says researcher Johan Wessberg.

For further information, contact:
Line Löken, postgraduate student, telephone: +46 (0)705 658861, e-mail: line.loken@neuro.gu.se
Håkan Olausson, Associate Professor, telephone +46 (0)733 823416, e-mail: hakan.olausson@gu.se

Johan Wessberg, Senior Lecturer, telephone: +46 (0)31 7863506, e-mail: johan.wessberg@physiol.gu.se

Journal: Nature Neuroscience
Title of the article: Coding of pleasant touch by unmyelinated afferents in humans

Authors: Line S. Löken, Johan Wessberg, India Morrisson, Francis McGlone, Håkan Olausson

Elin Lindström Claessen
Public Relations Officer at The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg
Telephone: +46 (0)31 7863837, +46 (0)70 8294303
E-mail: elin.lindstrom@sahlgrenska.gu.se
The Sahlgrenska Academy is the health science faculty at the University of Gothenburg. The academy runs courses and pursues research within medicine, odontology and care sciences. Around 4,000 undergraduates and 1,000 postgraduate students study at the Academy. The Academy employs 1,500 people, of which 850 are researchers and/or teachers.

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se/
http://www.sahlgrenska.gu.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>