Until now, the scientific consensus has been that in humans, the nerve signals that "communicate" touch to the brain are faster than those that relay pain. New research overturns the widespread notion that humans, unlike other mammals, process pain more slowly than touch. The findings may have significant implications for the diagnosis and treatment of pain. "The ability to feel pain is vital to our survival, so why should our pain-signaling system be so much slower than the system used for touch and so much slower than it could be?" explains Saad Nagi, a principal research engineer in the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine," The study revealed that 12% of the neurons with a thick myelin coat had the same properties as nociceptors, in that they could detect and convey "noxious stimuli," such as coarse brush stroking or pinching. Nagi's team hypothesized that losing myelinated nerve fibers would also affect the newly discovered superfast network of nociceptors. The researchers found that these individuals could not experience mechanical pain. The findings, explain the scientists, may help doctors diagnose pain-related conditions and provide better care for people who experience this symptom.