The human body is complicated, in more ways than one. Experiments have shown that the elusive “sixth sense” is more than just a feeling you experience before making a decision, meeting new people, or in dangerous situations. Scientists have discovered that “sixth sense” is controlled by a gene, PIEZ02.
Firstly, to understand the sixth sense, it is essential to know it isn’t just a feeling; it’s a sense of body awareness. The sixth sense is the ability of a human to read the space around them and navigate it accordingly. Hence, it is related to balance and movement.
To further study this, scientists examined two girls who had a mutation in the PIEZ02 gene. They both had an extreme lack of coordination and were unable to feel objects against their skin. Researchers tried to understand and link the mutation in the PIEZ02 gene with the lack of coordination. The girls were blindfolded and asked to walk. As a result, they stumbled and found it hard to walk, often falling. However, without the blindfold, they walked frequently.
In another test, patients were asked to reach for an object in front of their faces, while blindfolded. Those who had a mutation in the gene for sixth sense, PIEZ02, performed poorly. This happened because, without the help of sight. It became hard for them to judge the direction in which their hands or joints were moving.
To a touch test, the patients with the mutation and lack of sixth sense, either didn’t feel things such as the vibration of a buzzing fork or in some specific cases, where they did feel the sensation of touch they experienced it differently from the control group. For example, when hairy skin was pressed against their palm, they described a feeling of “prickliness” while those in the control group described it as a pleasant feeling.
Interestingly, parts of the nervous system of those who had a mutation in the gene seem to work fine. When patients were checked for their response on holding an object getting hot or cold, their responses were similar to those of the control group. Both groups, with or without a mutation, could determine changes in temperature and the sensation of pain. Hence it was concluded that despite having a malfunctioned sixth sense, the brain and cognitive abilities worked perfectly fine.
Thus, it can be concluded that different variations of the gene PEIZ02 are the cause if general clumsiness and lack of awareness.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!