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Micro Heat

Erika Howe and Michael Apollinaro

Background: Cooling techniques can reduce sensory feedback, whereas heating has shown it can enhance tactile perception. Whether the afferent firing changes in response to heat is unknown. It is possible that heating can be used to augment sensory feedback and improve balance measures. 

Purpose: Using microneurography to examine the cutaneous afferent response to heating the foot sole.

Eligibility: Healthy, young adults (18-40yrs) with no known vascular, or neurological disorder.


What has been found so far?

In Lowrey et al. 2013, we demonstrated that cooling decreases the firing rates in all classes of mechanoreceptors through microneurography and suggested it was attributed to decreases in peripheral blood flow.

In contrast, a group in Germany based out of Thomas L. Milani’s Lab at the Chemnitz University of Technology published Schlee et al. 2009, which found that heating the foot sole resulted in improvements of vibration perceptual thresholds on the foot sole.

Where are we headed?

The Bent Neurophysiology Lab is looking to examine the afferent response to heating the foot sole in an effort to determine whether heating the foot sole is a viable approach to augment sensory measures and improve balance.