/ 06 October 2021

Feeling the heat

Image source: Unsplash
Image source: Unsplash

Two groundbreaking discoveries about how humans feel temperature, touch and pressure has taken 2 American scientists to the top of the Nobel Prize pops for medicine or physiology. And it’s largely thanks to the humble chilli… Physiologist Professor David Julius applied capsaicin (the stuff that if you get in your eye you feel like you can see into the depths of hell…) to DNA fragments to identify the receptors in the skin that respond to heat. He did the same with menthol for cold. Meanwhile, independently of Julius, neuroscientist Professor Ardem Patapoutian discovered further receptors that respond to being poked. The discoveries could see the development of new treatments for conditions like chronic pain, which is pretty nifty. Overnight, the guys who predicted global warming in the 1960s won the prize for physics. PS the answer to your chilli problem is to flush your eye with milk

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