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Whisker simulation shows how follicles send sensory touch signals to mammal brains

Whisker simulation shows how follicles send sensory touch signals to mammal brains

Science
April 1 (UPI) -- For many animals, whiskers offer what fingers provide humans -- invaluable sensory information. Though aware of their importance, scientists have struggled to understand exactly how whiskers work. Part of the problem is that the most important part of the whisker, as a source of sensory signals, is hidden beneath the skin inside the follicle. Advertisement To better understand the mechanics of mammalian whiskers, researchers combined new anatomical observations with sophisticated digital simulations. The analysis, detailed Thursday in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, suggests the base of the whisker forms an S-shaped bend inside the follicle when it brushes against an object, pulling on some sensory cells and pushing on others. "Although researchers have examined ...