Possible Redundance of Spinal Pathways for Behavioural Thermosensitivity
Studies of animal’s ability to utilize particular sensory stimuli before and after restricted lesions of the central nervous system employ a traditional method of sensory neurophysiology. The method is not accepted uncritically, however, and a certain disenchantment stems from findings of rapid postoperative recovery, which have indicated a somewhat unexpected, functional redundance of many central nervous structures. Nevertheless, we have used that method for several years at our laboratory for the purpose of locating the spinal, ascending, thermosensory pathways of the cat. The background was formed by numerous reports of thermosensory anaesthesia which had been caused by restricted lesions in the ventral half of the spinal cord of human patients, and indicated a possible lack of redundance in the distal parts of the thermosensory system. The symptoms and the lack of redundance have been attributed to interruption of a unique, thermosensory, spino-thalamic pathway (cf. Norrsell, 1979). Since thermal sensations constitute cutaneous sensory qualities, studies of the thermosensory system for above mentioned reasons might provide a profitable approach for extension of our knowledge about the somatosensory system
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