Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sense of Touch and Finger Size

The Journal of Neuroscience published research indicating that if you have smaller fingers you have better tactile acuity. They found that in general, women had a better sense of touch due to smaller hand size. The authors conclude that smaller fingers have more closely spaced receptors (Merkel cells - associated with light touch). The researchers now want to study how these receptors change with growth of the hands in children.

Additional recent research in a mouse model, showed that a mouse without Merkel cells had a complete loss of light touch receptors but not noxious receptors.

Now, here are some questions I have regarding people with tactile hyper or hypo sensitivity:

Is it related to the amount of receptors in the skin - less receptors mean less ability to process light touch?
Is it related to hand size?
Do you observe that more males than females have tactile issues?
Do tactile sensitivities change with age?

So interesting. Anyone have any answers to these questions? Any comments based on your own experiences with children who have tactile issues?

References: Society for Neuroscience (2009, December 15). Women tend to have better sense of touch due to smaller finger size. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/12/091215173017.htm

American Society for Cell Biology (2009, December 12). Merkel cells revealed as secret behind sensation of light touch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/12/091208132231.htm

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