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Will the latest discovery lead to the creation of a drug that will replace us being close to another person? Americans have just discovered which neurons are responsible for the pleasure of stroking. And touching, stroking and cuddling are essential for the proper mental development of children. They also help in rehabilitation and in the treatment of some mental problems.

A drug that replaces petting and cuddlingis a song of the future for now. However,the latest discoveryof American researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena opens up new opportunities.

How were the neurons responsible for the pleasure of touch discovered?

The research was carried out on mice. in an isolated part of the cage, the mice were injected with a chemical substance that stimulated the nerve endings of the rodents responsible for the reaction to stroking. "After a while, the mice willingly came to this part of the cage twice as often as they used to, meaning that the pleasure outweighed the pain caused by the needle sticking," says David Anderson, lead author of a study published in the "Nature" weekly, about the experiment.

Touch as a pain reliever and stress reliever

According to the researchers, this discovery can be used in medicine. Scientists hope that they will be able to create drugs that artificially stimulate nerve endings as if we had been stroked or massaged. Under the influence of these pleasant stimuli, the body releases chemicals that make you feel relaxed and even relieve pain. A possible human use drug could, in some situations, replace the increased need for skin-to-skin contact during rehabilitation or in certain mental illnesses, says Johan Wessberg of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

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