It’s obvious that cells in my brain do some thinking – although it’s unclear how much and what each cell does. They collectively do quite a bit of thinking – even when I think they are not, like when I’m asleep or unconscious. There is now evidence that neuron cells at the periphery of the skin also do some thinking – and quite a lot of it, it seems.
“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.
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,”” (Pruszynski)
Did you catch that? Cells responsible for my sense of touch transmit information that is processed right where the touch occurred. They’re SMART!!!
That’s amazing! It’s as though my brain is everywhere in my body. Hmmm. Maybe it is! And maybe I’ve given my cells short-shrift. Time to re-evaluate.
I wonder what ELSE is going on while I’m unaware.
- Edge-orientation processing in first-order tactile neurons. Nature Neuroscience (2014) doi:10.1038/nn.3804
- Umea University. (2014, September 4). “Advanced calculations performed by neurons in human skin.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/281921.php.