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Podcast

Touch – The Forgotten Sense with Professor Francis McGlone

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  January 16, 2019

Did you know that being touched is essential for healthy brain development? Yet with teachers, healthcare professionals and work colleagues being increasingly hesitant about social touching, for the first time in the evolution of human history, many of us are being exposed to less touch than ever before. But what effect is all this having on our emotional health? World-leading researcher Professor Francis McGlone explains the importance of touch for humans and the devastating consequences of not receiving it. The research in this area is mind-blowing and learning about it has changed the way I interact with my family. I hope you find this conversation useful.

I dedicate a chapter of my new book ‘The Stress Solution’ to touch, which is available to order on Amazon now.

Click here for more information on our sponsor athleticgreens.com/livemore

Episode Highlights:

  • Hear about the difference between fast-touch and slower tactile touch?
  • Which parts of the body are mostly used for fast-touch?
  • What are CT fibres and why has Francis’s research explored the role of these fibres?
  • Hear about a patient who has lost all fast-touch nerve fibres.
  • How does pain reflect the difference between fast-touch and touch via CT fibres?
  • What does Francis think about the reduction of touch socially today and how this could affect us in the future?
  • What is epigenetics and how does this compare to the nurture/nature debate?
  • Hear about Michael Meaney’s research.
  • How does Francis think that a lack of early touch can have a developmental effect on the brain?
  • How has legislation in recent years resulted in a society adverse to touching?
  • Francis recognises that Harry Harlow’s research from the 1950s supports our new knowledge that CT fibres are key to childhood development.
  • What is Microneurography?
  • Why does Francis think that technology is replacing touch?
  • What similarities does Francis’s research have to Gabor Mate’s view on childhood development?
  • How has the research into human touch become Francis’ focus as a scientist?
'Touch is not just a sentimental human indulgence, it’s a biological necessity.' Click To Tweet

Find out more about Francis’ work:

Biography

Further learning:

Dr Chatterjee’s resources:

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DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP