Health

Fingerprints enhance our sense of touch

Receptive fields of sensory neurons in the hand, mapped onto a fingertip. Credit: Jarocka et al., JNeurosci 2021

Fingerprints may be more useful to us than helping us nab criminal suspects: they also improve our sense of touch. Sensory neurons in the finger can detect touch on the scale of a single fingerprint ridge, according to new research published in JNeurosci.

The hand contains tens of thousands of sensory neurons. Each neuron tunes in to a small surface area on the skin—a receptive field—and detects touch, vibration, pressure, and other tactile stimuli. The human hand possesses a refined sense of touch, but the exact sensitivity of a single sensory neuron has not been studied before.

To address this, Jarocka et al. measured the electrical activity of the sensory neurons in human fingertips when they stimulated with raised dots swept over the skin.

The research team calculated the detection areas of the sensory neurons and mapped them onto the fingerprints. The width of the detection areas matched the width of a single fingerprint ridge. These areas stayed on the same fingerprint ridges during different scanning speeds and directions, indicating that they are anchored to the fingerprint ridges. The overlap of receptive fields with small detection areas explains how humans have such a sensitive and accurate sense of touch.


Rubbing skin activates itch-relief neural pathway


More information:
Human Touch Receptors Are Sensitive To Spatial Details on the Scale of Single Fingerprint Ridges, JNeurosci (2021). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1716-20.2021

Citation:
Fingerprints enhance our sense of touch (2021, March 15)
retrieved 15 March 2021
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-fingerprints.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Ad Block Detected

Welcome to Mediexpose, Please support our journalism by allowing ads. With support from readers like you, we can continue to deliver the best. You can support us free by simply allowing ads.