On Monday, two scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discoveries into how the human body perceives heat and touch. The revelations could help doctors and scientists to find new ways of treating pain or even heart disease. The American scientists, David Julius, and Ardem Patapoutian located receptors in the skin that respond to heat and pressure.
Their field of work is focused on somatosensation, which looks at the ability of specialized organs such as eyes, ears, and skin. These organs are special because they allow us to interact with the environment through touch, sight, and sounds. Secretary-general of the Nobel Committee, Thomas Perlmann said “This really unlocks the secret of nature,”
Perlmann further explained, “It’s actually something that is crucial for our survival, so it’s a very important and profound discovery.” The committee added that Julius, who works at the University of California at San Francisco used capsaicin to identify the nerve sensors in the skin. Capsaicin is the active component in chili peppers.
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