The senses: Touch
Listen now
Our skin contains millions of nerve endings and touch sensors that collect information about different sensations like temperature, pressure, vibration, pain and send it to the brain for processing and reaction. But it’s when our sensory system goes wrong that we learn most about how our senses help us understand the world around us. Neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner talks to Alison, whose delicious seafood dinner sends her nervous system haywire. Poisoned by fish contaminated with ciguatera toxin, her sense of temperature is turned upside down – so hot feels cold and the cold floor tiles burn the soles of her feet. We hear from Dawn, whose damaged nerve triggers excruciating pain down the side of her face – illustrating how our senses can trick us about the source of our agony. We meet Paul, who has broken every bone in his body, yet never feels a jot of pain. His rare genetic condition, congenital insensitivity to pain, means his brain never receives signals warning of damage to his flesh and bones. And whilst a pain-free life might sound appealing, we find out it has serious physical and psychological consequences. And through Rahel we learn about a lesser-known touch sensation, called proprioception. When it is not working, it affects our co-ordination. And for Rahel, that means she struggles to stay upright when it is dark. Photo: Vicki and Paul Waters Courtesy of the Waters family
More Episodes
Neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner explores the extraordinary sensory experiences of individuals with synaesthesia - a mash-up of senses where one sense automatically triggers another. Some synaesthetes hear colours, others feel sound. We meet James who perceives the world differently from most...
Published 08/26/20
Imagine spraying yourself with a flowery fragrance but all you can smell is rotting flesh? Our senses can be surprisingly strange, especially when they malfunction due to injury, disease or genetic abnormalities. In this episode, neurologist Dr Guy Leschziner, explores two senses, smell and...
Published 08/19/20
From a whisper to the roar of thunder, every sound creates vibrations in our ears which the brain decodes, to tell us what we’re hearing. But, as neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner explains, when disruptions occur along the way, extraordinary things can happen, changing the way we perceive the...
Published 08/12/20