Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations

Date:
September 1, 2014
Source:
Ume University
Summary:
Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform.A characteristic of neurons that extend into the skin and record touch, is that they branch in the skin so that each neuron reports touch from many highly-sensitive zones on the skin. According to researchers, this branching allows first-order tactile neurons not only to send signals to the brain that something has touched the skin, but also process geometric data about the object touching the skin.

Work performed in Andrew Pruszynski's lab.
Credit: Mattias Pettersson

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform. This is according to a study from Ume University in Sweden published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

A fundamental characteristic of neurons that extend into the skin and record touch, so-called first-order neurons in the tactile system, is that they branch in the skin so that each neuron reports touch from many highly-sensitive zones on the skin.

According to researchers at the Department of Integrative Medical Biology, IMB, Ume University, this branching allows first-order tactile neurons not only to send signals to the brain that something has touched the skin, but also process geometric data about the object touching the skin.

"Our work has shown that two types of first-order tactile neurons that supply the sensitive skin at our fingertips not only signal information about when and how intensely an object is touched, but also information about the touched object's shape" says Andrew Pruszynski, who is one of the researchers behind the study.

The study also shows that the sensitivity of individual neurons to the shape of an object depends on the layout of the neuron's highly-sensitive zones in the skin.

"Perhaps the most surprising result of our study is that these peripheral neurons, which are engaged when a fingertip examines an object, perform the same type of calculations done by neurons in the cerebral cortex. Somewhat simplified, it means that our touch experiences are already processed by neurons in the skin before they reach the brain for further processing" says Andrew Pruszynski.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ume University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J Andrew Pruszynski, Roland S Johansson. Edge-orientation processing in first-order tactile neurons. Nature Neuroscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3804

Cite This Page:

Ume University. "Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140901090301.htm>.
Ume University. (2014, September 1). Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140901090301.htm
Ume University. "Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140901090301.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins