We all know that the spinal cord and brainstem are important for touch. But new research is uncovering even more roles for these vital structures in our sense of touch.
A pair of studies published in the journal Nature Neuroscience have found that the spinal cord and brainstem are important for both sending and receiving information about touch.
The first study found that the spinal cord is important for sending information about touch to the brain. The study looked at people with spinal cord injuries and found that they had difficulty detecting light touch.
The second study found that the brainstem is important for receiving information about touch from the spinal cord. The study looked at people with brainstem injuries and found that they had difficulty detecting vibration.
Together, these studies show that the spinal cord and brainstem are important for touch in ways that we never knew before. These findings could have important implications for the treatment of injuries to these vital structures.
A new study has found that the brainstem and spinal cord play a far more important role in touch than previously thought.
The findings, published in the journal Neuron, could have implications for the treatment of conditions like pain and paralysis.
Touch is our most basic sense and is essential for survival. It allows us to interact with our environment and to keep ourselves safe.
Previous research has shown that touch is processed in several different areas of the brain, including the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), the thalamus, and the brainstem.
However, it was not clear how these different regions of the brain worked together to produce the sensation of touch.
To investigate this, a team of researchers from Stanford University in the US used a technique called two-photon microscopy to image the activity of neurons in the brains of mice as they were being lightly touched on the back.
They found that touch stimuli triggered activity in a number of different brain regions, including the S1, the thalamus, and the brainstem.
More importantly, they found that the order in which these regions were activated was different for different types of touch.
For example, when the mice were lightly touched with a soft brush, the activity in the S1 preceded that in the thalamus and brainstem.
In contrast, when the mice were touched with a harder object, the activity in the thalamus preceded that in the S1 and brainstem.
The findings suggest that the different regions of the brain are involved in processing different types of touch information.
They also highlight the importance of the brainstem and spinal cord in touch processing.
The spinal cord is the main pathway for touch information to reach the brain, and the brainstem is known to be important for the transmission of pain signals.
However, the new study shows that the brainstem is also important for the perception of touch.
The findings could have implications for the treatment of conditions like pain and paralysis.
Pain is known to be processed in the brainstem, and the new findings suggest that targeting the brainstem could help to reduce pain.
Similarly, the findings could be used to develop new treatments for paralysis.
If the brainstem is shown to be important for the perception of touch, then it may be possible to develop therapies that stimulate the brainstem to restore touch sensation in people with paralysis.
The new study provides a detailed understanding of how touch is processed in the brain and highlights the importance of the brainstem and spinal cord in touch perception.
This knowledge could be used to develop new treatments for conditions like pain and paralysis.