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04-17-2009, 08:22 AM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
Scientists decode 'pleasant touch'Scientists in Sweden have decoded 'pleasant touch', a discovery that may explain why stroking the skin slowly often relieves pain.
The research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg found that nerve signals that tells the brain that a person is being slowly stroked on the skin have their own specialised nerve fibres in the skin.
The specialised nerve fibres in the skin, called CT nerves (C-tactile), travel directly to the areas in the brain that are important in the emergence of feelings.
The findings, which are being published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, may explain why touching the skin can relieve pain.
"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," Line L÷ken, a postgraduate student in neurophysiology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, was quoted as saying by the Science Daily on Thursday.
Associate Professor Hakan Olausson, who is leading the study along with Johan Wessberg, examined a group of healthy subjects using a technique called microneurography.
"As the nerve signals that were sent in the CT nerves became more frequent, the subjects reported the experience as being increasingly pleasant," Wessberg said.
05-29-2009, 09:27 PM #2