Friday, December 11, 2009

We Do Have More Than 5 Senses - Proven!




Anyone who follows my blog, probably knows I'm obsessed with finding out why our bodies are better barometers of ghostly activity than electronic gadgets, why I can read objects by touching them, and why humans seem to live beyond the parameters of their bodies. An article just out really caught my eye. In fact, I'm going to copy it here so you can read it. It's really quite exciting!

From Livescience.com

Humans Have Hidden Sensory System
By LiveScience Staff

The human body may be equipped with a separate sensory system aside from the nerves that gives us the ability to touch and feel, according to a new study.

Most of us have millions of different types of nerve endings just beneath the skin that let us feel our surroundings. However, the once-hidden and recently discovered skin sense, found in two patients, is located throughout the blood vessels and sweat glands, and most of us don't even notice it's there.

"It's almost like hearing the subtle sound of a single instrument in the midst of a symphony," said senior author Frank Rice, a neuroscience professor at Albany Medical College in New York. "It is only when we shift focus away from the nerve endings associated with normal skin sensation that we can appreciate the sensation hidden in the background."

Sensitive skin

Our skin, the body's largest organ, seems to have some extraordinary qualities, as another recent study showed skin can hear.

The new finding, detailed in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Pain, could help scientists to understand mysterious pain conditions such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia. The study, and others by the team, was supported by the National Institutes of Health and several pharmaceutical companies.

The research team discovered the sensory system when studying two patients who were born with very little ability to feel pain — an extremely rare condition called congenital insensitivity to pain. Other individuals with this condition have excessively dry skin, often mutilate themselves accidentally and usually have severe mental handicaps, the researchers say.

It wasn't their pain-free lives that brought the patients into the lab, but rather excessive sweating.

"Curiously, our conventional tests with sensitive instruments revealed that all their skin sensation was severely impaired, including their response to different temperatures and mechanical contact," said study researcher Dr. David Bowsher, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool's Pain Research Institute.

"But, for all intents and purposes, they had adequate sensation for daily living and could tell what is warm and cold, what is touching them, and what is rough and smooth."

Surprise results

Bowsher took skin biopsies and sent them to Rice's lab for microscopic analyses of the nerve endings.

"Much to our surprise, the skin we received from England lacked all the nerve endings that we normally associated with skin sensation," Rice said. "So how were these individuals feeling anything?"

The answer: While the patients lacked the usual nerve endings in the skin, Rice and colleagues found sensory nerve endings on the small blood vessels and sweat glands embedded in their skin.

"Apparently, these unique individuals are able to 'feel things' through these remaining nerve endings," Rice said. "For many years, my colleagues and I have detected different types of nerve endings on tiny blood vessels and sweat glands, which we assumed were simply regulating blood flow and sweating."

Rice added, "We didn't think they could contribute to conscious sensation. However, while all the other sensory endings were missing in this unusual skin, the blood vessels and sweat glands still had the normal types of nerve endings."

2 comments:

  1. This was a fascinating article-in fact I would like to read it again when i am not so tired- the thing that really caught my eye was the excessive sweating-that used to be to a "T" sometimes just nervousness would trigger it and sometimes of course the heat-but I was very self conscious about it-as if you sweat during so many non strenuous activities it looks so strange.
    I got lucky with that-in that the whole problem disappeared about a year and a half ago. I would give anything to know what body chemistry in me caused the changes to lose all that weight-then stabilize -and excessive sweating gone-but other things much worse now like insomnia haha-trade offs!
    thanks for the link and article-I was going to mention "Science Daily" news center but I think you know about that one? as I think I have seen you link to it-hope Im right-if i am wrong it should be the first thing that pops up in any search engine typing ScienceDaily
    all the best in the world to you and thanks again for the great link digging !!!

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  2. Hey Dev;
    More than likely the sweating was caused by either weight--did you lose weight and then the sweating went away? The change in body weight changes the balance in hormones in the body...or you're getting older and your hormones changed from that--yeah, I know, you're not that old, but men's hormones do change in their 40s too. Consider it your men-o-pause. Hee hee

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