Signals from stroking have direct route to brain

Nerve signals that tell the brain that we are being slowly stroked on the skin have their own specialised nerve fibres in the skin. This is shown by a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The discovery may explain why touching the skin can relieve pain.

The specialised nerve fibres in the skin are called CT nerves (C-tactile) and they travel directly to the areas in the brain that are important in the emergence of feelings.

"Basically the signals that tell the brain that we are being stroked on the skin have their own direct route to the brain, and are not blocked even if the brain is receiving pain impulses from the same area. In fact it’s more the opposite, that the stroking impulses are able to deaden the pain impulses," says Line Löken, postgraduate student in neurophysiology at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

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