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Thread: Two quick question about nerves

  1. #1 Two quick question about nerves 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Is there a delay for signals to be sent to the brain from various bodyparts on touch? If I touch my ear vs one of my toes, will the signal be sent just as fast to the brain? It feels the same, Im just wondering if more remote parts of the body spends more time to register to the brain or if this is instant.

    Are more remote parts of the body affected in signal strength? meaning - if I pinch my toe vs pinching my ear really hard, will the closer part to the brain feel stronger? basicly, does the distance from the brain to various body parts affect the pain treshhold? Or is this only related to the amount of nerves in the location pinched?


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    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Is there a delay for signals to be sent to the brain from various bodyparts on touch? If I touch my ear vs one of my toes, will the signal be sent just as fast to the brain? It feels the same, Im just wondering if more remote parts of the body spends more time to register to the brain or if this is instant.

    There is a slight delay between the signals, but it is often unnoticed.
    The delay may sensed when you smash your toe against the coffee table. It will take a few instants before you sense pain, whereas you feel pain faster when e.g. you pull your ear.

    Are more remote parts of the body affected in signal strength? meaning - if I pinch my toe vs pinching my ear really hard, will the closer part to the brain feel stronger? basicly, does the distance from the brain to various body parts affect the pain treshhold? Or is this only related to the amount of nerves in the location pinched?

    The threshold value is, I think, relatively constant throughout your body. It is, I think, correct to state that the more nerves you have at one spot, the more sensitive (to pain) it is.

    Neurology is not my specialty, so I await the answers of other members who might know more about the subject and might correct potential errors in my answer.


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    There is a significant delay for nerve signals reaching / getting from the extremities - a few hundred milliseconds. I think I remember reading that pain signals are much faster than others.

    The brain does a remarkable job of coordinating all these signals arriving at different times and making us think that they are all happening "now".

    There was a case recently of someone for whom this appears to have gone wrong: Mindscapes: First man to hear people before they speak
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    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
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    As others have described above, the brain delays perception of sensation from parts of the body that are closer so that simultaneous sensations are experienced as happening at the same time.

    Interestingly, because the delay is less, shorter athletes have a slight advantage over taller athletes ( 0.5 m/s for each inch increase in height) which isn't a big difference but might be significant enough when judging a fast ball or hitting a hockey puck.
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    Forum Senior Weterman's Avatar
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    I wouldn't think that you would feel more pain closer to your brain, but you will feel it sooner. The pain goes from your toe or wherever to your brain. if its closer to the brain, it will get there faster.
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