Touch. The Science of Hand …

Fingertips To Hair Follicles: Why ‘Touch’ Triggers Pleasure And Pain
February 03, 2015

hot pepper
placebo, nocebo

every time we recall a memory, we …

The improvement is not generalized beyond the task
trophic factors
reduces anxiety
prevents depression

The ‘Thermal Grill’ Illusion

How the ‘Thermal Grill’ Illusion Tricks the Mind
Science. 12 December 2011

The trick is called the thermal grill illusion, and it’s the topic of a paper published last month in PLoS ONE.
If you feel harmless levels of cold and warm all at once and in a grill-like pattern, it can hurt. “It feels a bit like the burning of cold pain, when you put your hand in snow,” says Lindstedt, who works at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. “It’s a very, in want of a better word, weird stimulus.”

… silver, which isn’t magnetic. … strapped the box to her leg … they warmed all the bars to 41°C, cooled all the bars to 18°C

as expected the volunteers found the illusion more unpleasant or painful than normal hot and cold.
The fMRI showed that those experiencing the illusion had a particularly busy thalamus, a relay station in the brain through which sensory impulses pass, and part of the pain matrix, a collection of brain regions that manage pain.
The thalamus is also active during pain caused by cold allodynia, a neurological disorder in which even normal levels of cold hurt.

First prosthetic hand to let owner feel sensations

Micera et al. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2011 8:53

First prosthetic hand to let owner feel sensations
May 2nd, 2013

Scientists in Italy have developed a bionic hand.

The prosthetic hand is able to “feel” thanks to electrodes implanted in the patient’s median and ulnar nerves.


original paper:

Decoding of grasping information from neural signals recorded using peripheral intrafascicular interfaces.
J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2011 Sep 5;8:53.
Micera S, et al.
BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy

Tickling a rat’s whiskers prevents brain damage

Layout of the whisker sensory pathway. (2008)

The Healing Power of Touch: Tickling Reduces Stroke-Induced Brain Damage in Rats
Tickling a rat’s whiskers after it has a stroke prevents brain damage
July 11, 2011

A team led by professor Ron Frostig of the University of California, Irvine, induced strokes in rats by blocking an artery to the brain. The researchers then stimulated their whiskers, in­tending to measure the rats’ brain activity to learn how the stroke damage affected sensory functions. Instead they found that if they vibrated a single whisker within two hours of the stroke, neurons that ordinarily would have died continued to function normally, and the rats ended up with no paralysis or sensory deficits. The exact mechanism of the protective effect is not clear, but it seems to involve a rerouting of blood through undamaged veins in the brain.