The spinothalamic tract conducts impulses
Keywords: the spinothalamic tract conducts impulses
Description: The spinothalamic tract is a nerve pathway that transmits sensations of pain, temperature, itch, and touch to the thalamus, where... - mobile wiseGEEK
The spinothalamic tract conducts the sensations of pain, temperature, itch, and touch from various parts of the body to the thalamus. There are two parts of the spinothalamic tract; the lateral tract and the anterior tract. The lateral tract conducts sensations to the brain and creates sensations of pain and temperature, and the anterior tracts’ impulses are interpreted as pressure and touch.
When a sensation, such as pain or temperature, is conducted through the spinothalamic tract, it arrives in the thalamus and creates an impulse to act. This is what is known as affective sensation. For example, if you are pricked by a pin on your finger tip, the sensation is conducted up through the spinothalamic tract and into the brain, and your brain sends the signal to withdraw from the source of pain in order to reduce it. If you have an itch, the brain sends the impulse to scratch.
Clinically speaking, the spinothalamic tract can be involved in injuries of the spinal cord. Since it deccusates on the level of the spine. it creates different responses than some of the other nerve pathways, which deccusate in the brain. For instance, if there is an injury sustained to the spinothalamic tract, it can create damaged tissue called a lesion. If the lesion is on one side of the spine, there will be loss of the sensations of both pressure and touch below the lesion on that side. Since the spinothalamic tract pathway deccusates on the spine and ascends on the opposite side of the spinal cord, it results in pain below the lesion but on the opposite side of the body, which is known as dissociated sensory loss.