Research NewsBiophysics

Sharpening the Senses With Neural 'Noise'

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Science  19 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5333, pp. 1759
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5333.1759

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In the last year, a series of experiments has shown that sensory stimulation consisting of mechanical or electrical noise can sharpen everything from the sense of touch to proprioception--the ability to perceive where a limb is in space. Not only do these results offer insights into the normal workings of the nervous system, but they also open new strategies for rehabilitating patients with "peripheral neuropathy"--a deadening of sensation in the extremities--cope with their condition and relearn simple tasks.