CTs & Microneurography in Moscow

As part of SomAffect’s developing collaboration with Anton Varlamov & Galina Protnova at the Russian Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Francis McGlone & Adarsh Makdani were recently invited to help establish a Microneurography lab in Moscow.

 

 

The first series of experiments proved extremely promising, and included practice with ultrasound guided microneurography, and an encouraging trial experiment in a person with autism.

Professor McGlone was also invited to speak about C-Tactile Fibres, and the Social Touch Hypothesis, central to much of SomAffect’s work.

The lectures prompted engaging discussions between academics and practitioners, which we hope will be the springboard for a number of exciting research projects.

 

 

NewScientist: Premature babies’ brains respond differently to gentle touching.

SomAffect’s research with collaborators into gentle touch in premature infants has been featured in an article by the NewScientist by Linda Geddes.

While many premature babies experience pain, McGlone thinks that it is exposure to gentle touch that really matters. There’s mounting evidence that a set of nerves called c-tactile fibres are activated by soft caresses, and might provide a scaffold for the developing social brain. “These preterm infants have a highly developed c-tactile system, and I believe that the way the brain wires up its sense of self is critically dependent on this system feeding information in,” McGlone says.

Read more at NewScientist.com

New Book: Affective Touch and the Neurophysiology of CT Afferents: 2016

atncta-coverCT afferents are receptors in mammalian hairy skin that fire action potentials when the skin is touched lightly which makes them particularly important in affective touch.  Traditionally neuroscientific research has focused on more discriminative and haptic properties of touch that are mediated by large myelinated afferents and the coding properties and functional organization of unmyelinated CT afferents have been studied much less.  The proposed volume will draw together existing knowledge in this nascent field. Separate sections will address (1) how we can measure affective touch, (2) CT structure and physiology, (3) CT processing, (4) the contribution of CTs to sexual behavior, (5) clinical relevance, (6) commercial relevance, and (7) future research considerations. (more…)

In autism brains, response to ‘social touch’ is altered

Research by SomAffect’s Francis McGlone appears in this month’s SFARI newsletter.

“The brains of people with autism respond differently to a gentle brush on the arm — a form of social touch — than do those of people without the disorder, according to a study published 5 June in Cerebral Cortex”

SFARI““I find it very exciting,” says Kamila Markram, Autism Project director at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne, who proposed the intense world theory in 2007. The new study supports the idea that sensory overload is a key biomarker of autism.”

Read the full article at sfari.org…

(more…)

BPS Annual Conference 2015

This week Ralph, Paula and myself will be presenting posters at the annual BPS conference , in Liverpool. One of the key topics at the conference this year is the social brain.

This will be an excellent opportunity for members of our group to showcase our work  in CT afferents to psychologists, clinicians and researchers from across the broad psychology network.

Connor