Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just For Fun; Whats Up With Pruney Fingers?

The reason I find this interesting is because about 8 years ago, I read an article about a four year old child who had severed nerves in three fingers.
Sometime later the mother was playing with her toddler in the family pool and noticed those three little fingers were starting to prune, she reported it to her physician. Good news ensued,  the "pruney fingers" meant the child's nerves were slowly improving...lovely story.

Over at Nature  today I read an article by Ed Yong , who writes that Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist has a theory - "he suggests wrinkling of wet digits evolved for a reason."

Here is a bit of what  Mark Changizi and his colleagues had to say.
Changizi thinks that the wrinkles act like rain treads on tyres. They create channels that allow water to drain away as we press our fingertips on to wet surfaces. This allows the fingers to make greater contact with a wet surface, giving them a better grip.

Scientists have known since the mid-1930s that water wrinkles do not form if the nerves in a finger are severed, implying that they are controlled by the nervous system.

"I stumbled upon these nearly century-old papers and they immediately suggested to me that pruney fingers are functional," says Changizi. "I discussed the mystery with my student Romann Weber, who said, 'Could they be rain treads?' 'Brilliant!' was my reply."
Read more............

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