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October 1960

Relation of Peripheral Nerve Fiber Size and Sensation in Man

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Neurosurgery and Neurology, Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Arch Neurol. 1960;3(4):381-385. doi:10.1001/archneur.1960.00450040031003

Introduction  Since the theory of specific nerve energies was proposed by Johannes Müller1 in 1826, there has been controversy regarding the relationship of the peripheral nerve to the perception of sensation. Conduction of specific modalities of sensation by differentsized fibers has been proposed by Ranson and Billingsley,2 Adrian et al.,3 and Heinbecker et al.4 In the laboratory animal, precise selective control and reproducibility of the peripheral afferent input with objective measurement of the central response is possible electrophysiologically. There remains the problem of translating the data obtained from animal experiments in terms of subjective human responses, including both the perception of and the reaction to varying touch, temperature, and painful stimuli. It is with such translation that this study of human responses to electrographically monitored activation of selected portions of the peripheral nerve fiber sizespectrum is concerned. We sought to determine whether a relationship between fiber