The Nobel Prize body says the scientists’ discoveries:
“Have allowed us to understand how heat, cold and mechanical force can initiate the nerve impulses that allow us to perceive and adapt to the world around us”.
Researchers in the US have won the Nobel Prize for discovering receptors for touch and temperature.
Ardem Patapoutian and David Julius were awarded the prize in the field of physiology or medicine.
Through their innovation, they uncovered how the nervous system converts physical sensations into electrical messages.
They may be able to develop new ways to treat pain as a result of their findings.
Sense of touch, warmth, and cold are crucial to both experiencing and surviving the world around us.
The exact mechanism by which our bodies do this has long been a mystery in biology.
In his Nobel Prize-winning research, 65-year-old professor Julius identified the nerve receptors in the skin that allow the skin to respond to heat through the compound capsaicin, which is found in chilli peppers.
Moreover, Professor Patapoutian found that cells responding to mechanical stimuli contain separate pressure-sensitive sensors.
According to the Nobel Committee’s secretary-general, Thomas Perlmann, this truly unlocks one of the secrets of nature.
“It’s actually something that is crucial for our survival, so it’s a very important and profound discovery.”
Gold medals and prizes worth more than $1m (£735,000) accompany the Nobel award.
Later this week, physics, chemistry, literature and economics distinctions will also be given out.
Source: Nobel Prize