Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ectodermal Cells

While showering this morning, the temperature went up suddenly. I hate it when that happens because my skin is particularly sensitive to high temperatures. I can't stand taking a very hot shower (or eating very hot food). While adjusting the temperature down, I began thinking about the relationship between skin cells and neurons -- both are derived from the ectoderm. Might skin cells participate a bit more in the sense of touch than just being a place where sensory neurons end/begin? Even a slight electric potential might contribute to the sense of touch. The sensory outreach of the body would thus be greater than we have thought. How far-fetched is this? Well, glial cells have been shown to have more than mere support functions, actually participating in electrical transmission. What might it mean if the skin is part of the sensory order? Or is it just that my neurons are particularly sensitive? That I wouldn't doubt.

I will note that it is interesting, too, that our language for emotions tends to be the same as our language for touch. We have "feelings," we are "hurt" and "wounded." We are de-"press"-ed and im-"press"-ed. Coincident?
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