Whole-body mapping of spatial acuity for pain and touch
Spatial acuity, the ability to discriminate two points applied to the skin from a single point, is routinely tested by two point discrimination tools in clinical practice and is used to assess the state of the dorsal column. The aim of this study was to investigate how acuity for pain is distributed throughout the body, which was previously unknown.
Twenty-six volunteers participated in this study. Two-point discrimination thresholds for both nociceptive-selective (with laser pulses) and tactile simultaneous and successive stimuli (with von Frey hair equipped caliper) were assessed across several skin regions.
For both pain and touch, the fingertip was the area with the highest ability to detect details on the skin. The spatial acuity for both touch and pain is generally higher on hairless skin that on hairy skin, for both the hand and the foot. This study provides a characterization of nociceptive spatial acuity across the body surface that is clinically important, for studying mechanisms of neural plasticity and assessing the function of small-fiber impairments in neuropathies. > From: Mancini et al., Ann Neurol (2014) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to the American Neurological Association.
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