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What to Know About Pruney Fingers



    Photo credit: flickr/Sharron Drummond
    Photo credit: Flickr/Sharron Drummond

    You come back home really tired after a long day at work and you decide to take that loooong bath you’ve been waiting for. You stay in the water for some time and suddenly you realize your fingers are wrinkling. Oh boy, that is telling you that you’ve been there for a while and reminds you all the stuff you still have to do! But… does the body do this to let us know that we’ve been in a bath for too long? What is the real reason behind this process? And how is it really happening?

    It is commonly assumed that finger wrinkling is the result of water passing passively into the outer layer of the skin and making it swell up. However, although everybody seems to believe that explanation, that is actually quite wrong. Researchers have known since the 30s that skin wrinkling does not occur when there is nerve damage in the fingers indicating that is not a passive process but an active one that is controlled by the nerves 1. Even more, this knowledge has led to the implementation of the Wrinkling Test, a medical test that checks wrinkling of patients to assess their possible peripheral nerve damage 23. More recent studies have shown that finger wrinkling is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, a division of the peripheral nervous system that also controls other involuntary body functions such as breathing or digesting. However, it is still unclear how the whole system works, and more importantly, why it is there.

    The way this system works is not perfectly clear, but we have some clues. First, our hands have to sense the aquatic environment in a distinctive way (we don’t have wrinkling in our arms, for example). The palm of the hand possesses an incredible amount of sweat glands, around 370 per cm2. Each of those glands has a small duct to reach the surface of the skin and it is believed that when those are underwater, some amount of water can go through the duct and reach the gland inside the hand. This process is thought to be sensed by the sympathetic nervous system that in turn reacts by reducing blood flow through the vessels of the finger. Now blood vessels have restricted blood, which reduces their volume, and this situation causes the skin to shrink inward, forming the wrinkles we observe after taking a bath 4.

    The physiology behind this process is quite amazing and involves a coordinated action between the nervous system and the circulatory system. So the obvious question is: Why is this process acquired during evolution? What is the advantage of finger wrinkling?

    Some researchers have started to study this phenomenon. The first approach was theoretical and was proposed by Mark Changizi and colleges in 2011 5. They propose that wet-induced wrinkles have been selected to enhance grip in wet conditions, i.e. one should be able to pick up wet objects better after finger wrinkling. Changizi proposes that the wrinkles in fingers work like rain treads on tires. They create channels that allow water to drain away as you press your fingertips on to wet surfaces, which would allow your fingers to make better contact giving you a better grip.

    Figure 1. Smooth tires such as the racing tire (left) provide the best grip in dry conditions. However, in wet conditions rain treads (right) are better. The hypothesis proposed by Changizi et al suggests that, although smooth fingertips provide the best grip in dry conditions, fingertips wrinkle in wet conditions for better grip, akin to rain treads.
    Figure 1. Smooth tires such as the racing tire (left) provide the best grip in dry conditions. However, in wet conditions rain treads (right) are better. The hypothesis proposed by Changizi et al suggests that, although smooth fingertips provide the best grip in dry conditions, fingertips wrinkle in wet conditions for better grip, akin to rain treads.

    A few years later, another study aimed to experimentally test the prediction that handling of submerged objects is more efficient with wrinkled fingers than without. To do so, they recruited participants and asked them to put their hands in warm water for 30min or keep them dry. After that, the participants had to move dry or wet (submerged) glass marbles of different sizes from one container to another 6.

    Fig2
    Figure 2. Experimental setup to test if finger wrinkling gives an advantage for handling wet objects. Participants have to transfer dry or submerged glass marbles of different sizes from one container to the next. Finger wrinkling is induced before the experiment by submerging participants hands in warm water for 30min. A significant reduction in time for handling is observed if finger wrinkling has been previously induced (right graph). | Credit: Changizi et al (2011)

    After analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that the time taken to transfer wet glass marbles was reduced if participants had had their fingers in water before, suggesting that Changizi’s hypothesis was right and finger wrinkling helps handling wet objects, which would agree with the idea that this process could be evolutionarily favorable and could have been selected over the years. However, there is some controversy since the sample size of the study was quite small (20 participants only). In order to reproduce the results, a different group tried to do the same experiments in a bigger cohort (40 participants). Unfortunately, the results were not reproducible and this second lab was not able to conclude that finger wrinkling was really an advantage for handling wet objects 7 so right now there is a bit of uncertainty about the real reason of this process.

    Anyhow, the scientific community still thinks that there must be a reason behind this wrinkling process. Why the nervous system should control water-induced finger wrinkling? The answer is: we don’t really know so we need to do more research!

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    What to Know About Pruney Fingers – WebMD

    What to Know About Pruney Fingers Menu Maybe you’re someone who enjoys spending so much time in the sea, a swimming pool, or even a bathtub that you turn pruney. Why not? You deserve some fun.  But if you notice your fingers are wrinkly when they’re dry, you may be looking at a health problem.What Causes Pruney Fingers?The most common cause of pruney fingers is time spent in the water. When your hands soak for a while, your skin wrinkles like a prune. ‌Scientists used to think that water moved into the outer layers of your skin and caused it to swell. The swelling made a larger surface area, which caused the skin to later wrinkle. Now we know that pruney fingers are caused by shrinking blood vessels. When you soak in water, your nervous system sends a message to your blood vessels to shrink. Your body responds by sending blood away from the area, and the loss of blood volume makes your vessels thinner. The skin folds in over them, and this causes wrinkles.It’s not fully clear why this happens, but scientists believe this process evolved so you can have a better grip when your hands are wet.Health Conditions That Cause Pruney Fingers Without WaterGetting pruney is usually harmless, especially if it happens while you’re in the water. But some health conditions can cause pruney fingers even when your hands are dry.Raynaud’s disease. This affects your blood circulation to your fingers and toes. When you get cold, Raynaud’s causes your blood vessels to shrink and blood to flow away from your fingertips. This causes skin to wrinkle and fingertips to turn white, red, or blue. Dehydration. You become dehydrated when your body loses more water than you take in. One thing your body uses water for is to keep your skin healthy. When you lose too much water, your skin can start to feel less elastic and become wrinkled. This is called skin turgor.You can test this by gently pinching your skin and pulling upward as if to form a tent. If it’s slow to snap back into place, you may be dehydrated. Thyroid disease. Your thyroid gland plays key roles for lots of activities in your body, including digesting food and your body temperature. Not enough thyroid hormone can make your body work slowly. You might have low energy, low blood pressure, and poor circulation. An underactive thyroid can also cause fine wrinkles on your skin, rashes, and cool, pale, and dry skin.Lymphedema. This disease causes a buildup of lymph, a fluid in your body tissue, which leads to swelling. The buildup can damage tissues under your skin. As lymphedema advances, your skin can tighten, have a leathery feel, and become wrinkly.Wrinkly skin syndrome. This genetic disease causes wrinkling or sagging skin, poor skin elasticity, and delayed closure of the fontanelle, or soft spot on a baby’s head. It also causes growth problems, joint problems, and intellectual disability. People who have wrinkly skin syndrome have excessive wrinkly skin on their hands, fingers, and other places.Lupus. This is a disease where your immune system attacks your tissues and cells. This can cause problems with your joints, kidneys, tendons, and skin. Some people who have lupus also have Raynaud’s disease.‌Scleroderma. This is a disease where your immune system attacks the tissues under your skin, in your organs and blood vessels. It causes scarring and skin and tissue thickening. People who have scleroderma also often have Raynaud’s.How to Treat Pruney FingersThe treatment depends on the cause. If you’ve been in the water, your fingers will return to normal shortly. You can apply a lotion to your hands to ease some of the dryness.Other health conditions that cause pruney fingers each need different…

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    Pruney Fingers: Causes, Concerns, Treatment, and More

    Pruney Fingers: Causes, Concerns, Treatment, and MoreIf you’ve ever taken a long bath or spent time in a pool, you’ve probably noticed your fingers pruning. The tips of your fingers, and sometimes the fingers as a whole, develop wrinkles and creases that resemble those on a prune.Pruning by itself is generally harmless and goes away on its own. Extended pruning or pruning that doesn’t occur as a result of water, however, can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue.The medical community used to believe that pruning was caused by your fingers absorbing water. It is now known that pruney fingers are the result of blood vessels that constrict below the surface of the skin. The condition is tied to the function of the nervous system.Water can have this effect, but there are other causes as well. For instance, the pruning can happen due to fluid or nerve damage, both of which can signal an underlying medical condition.While pruney fingers due to immersion in water is not a problem and will resolve quickly once the fingers are dry, other conditions can cause pruning without water.DehydrationWhen you don’t drink enough water, your skin loses some of its elasticity. This can result in pruney fingers and other parts of your body. Adults should drink six to eight glasses of water per day, especially during or after exercise, or in hot weather. Other drinks, such as juice, soft drinks, and even tea, can make you more dehydrated. For this reason, don’t include these types of drinks when measuring your water intake. Other symptoms of dehydration include:fatiguedry mouthdark yellow urinedizzinessheadachesincreased thirstLearn more about dehydration.DiabetesHigh blood glucose levels from any type of diabetes can cause pruney fingers. Diabetes can damage the sweat glands, and the lack of sweat can cause dryness. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Many of the symptoms overlap between the three variations and include:frequent urinationincreased thirstextreme hungerfatiguehigh ketones in urineblurred visionunexplained weight lossfrequent infectionsLearn more about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.Thyroid disorderThe thyroid gland — which is inside the neck and shaped like a butterfly — is responsible for body temperature and metabolism regulation.Your thyroid regulates how you break down food and whether that food is used for immediate energy or is stored away.Those with a thyroid disorder can have pruney fingers, as well as a skin rash, which can also cause prune-like wrinkles. Thyroid disorders have other symptoms as well, depending on the type:Hypothyroidismpuffy facefatigueconstipationweight gainincreased sensitivity to coldpain and stiffness in the jointsthinning hairHyperthyroidismsudden weight losssweatingincreased appetitetremorincreased sensitivity to heatfine, brittle hairmenstrual changesLearn more about hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.LymphedemaSwelling in the arms and legs is referred to as lymphedema. In most cases, just one limb is affected. But sometimes it can affect both arms or both legs. The swelling is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, usually as a result of the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes during cancer treatment. The lymph fluid isn’t able to drain properly and the fluid buildup causes swelling. When the swelling occurs in the arm, it can affect the fingers and cause pruney fingers. Other symptoms of lymphedema include:a sensation of tightness or heavinessaches or discomfortdecreased range of motionhard or thick skin (fibrosis)frequent infectionsLearn more about lymphedema.LupusSystematic lupus erythematosus, often referred to as “lupus,” is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system unnecessarily attacks itself, causing chronic inflammation.When the inflammation occurs in the fingers, they might become red and pruney due to the swollen glands. Other symptoms of lupus vary widely, and many are present in other conditions not associated with lupus. Symptoms can include:fatiguerashhair lossfeverkidney problemsgastrointestinal problemsdry eyes and mouthLearn more about lupus.Vitamin B-12 deficiencyVitamin B-12 is just one of the vitamins that can keep you from developing pruney fingers. It is responsible for blood formation, nerve function, cell metabolism, and DNA production. Most people aren’t deficient in this vitamin because it can be stored in the body for several years. However, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you have an increased chance of being deficient in vitamin B-12,…

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    Why Do Fingers Prune? Causes, Risks, and Treatment

    Why do fingers prune?Have you ever been in water for a long time, whether taking a bath, at the pool, or even just washing the dishes, and noticed that fingers or toes have become wrinkly? When your hands or feet are in water for a long time, your skin may start to become wrinkled, or prune. For the most part, pruning skin isn’t something to worry about. However, if your fingers or toes prune without being in water, you may want to take a trip to the doctor. Some medical conditions can also cause pruning. Vasoconstriction Doctors and medical professionals used to think that your skin wrinkled or pruned after getting wet because your skin was absorbing water. We now know that this is not the case. Instead, pruning is caused by a process called vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction happens when the blood vessels under your skin contract. This causes skin to look wrinkly. While there’s no concrete evidence to explain why this happens, some research suggests that you’re better able to handle wet objects—like a slippery bar of soap—when your fingers are wrinkled. That may mean that pruning developed as an early adaptation. Although water is a common cause of pruney fingers, there are other causes as well. Dehydration Dehydration occurs when you haven’t had enough water. This can cause your skin to lose its flexibility and look wrinkled. Older adults and babies are at an increased risk for dehydration, which is why their skin may appear wrinkly. Besides pruning, other symptoms of dehydration include:        Dry mouth and lips        Headache        Dark yellow urine or not urinating enough        Dizziness        Irritation To treat or help prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water and consume electrolytes, especially if it’s hot or you’ve been doing any sort of physical activity.  Thyroid disorders Thyroid disorders can also cause pruney fingers. This is because the thyroid plays a role in your body’s temperature and metabolism. If your body temperature is lower than normal, your blood vessels will likely contract to make sure you don’t lose any more heat. Thyroid disorders have other symptoms besides dry, wrinkly skin. These depend on the type of thyroid disorder and can include: Fatigue Thinning or brittle hair Unexplained weight changes Cold or heat sensitivity Thyroid disorders can generally be managed with medication or other treatments.  Diabetes Diabetes affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, and high blood sugar can damage sweat glands. This then causes dry and wrinkly fingers. There are 3 types of diabetes—type 1, type 2, and gestational. Depending on the type, treatment may involve monitoring blood sugar levels, eating a healthy diet, or taking insulin and other medications. Raynaud’s phenomenon Raynaud’s phenomenon is a rare condition that affects the blood supply sent to the fingers and toes. In response to cold or stress, it causes blood vessels to constrict and makes skin appear wrinkly. Besides pruney skin, other symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon include:        Pale or blue skin        Feeling cold        Numbness        A throbbing or prickly sensation after blood returns to fingers or toes Get access to thousands of prescription coupons instantly. People in cold climates, women, and people with a family history of Raynaud’s phenomenon are most at risk of developing the condition. Raynaud’s phenomenon is generally treatable with calcium channel blocker medication and stress management. Eczema Eczema is a skin condition that causes inflammation, itchiness, and dry, cracked skin. It can start as early as infancy and can affect people through adulthood. Eczema can usually be managed with: Prescribed medication (topical steroids and treatments, antihistamines) At-home skin care (petroleum jelly, moisturizers for sensitive skin) Lifestyle changes (avoiding harsh skin cleansers, drinking plenty of water, wearing gloves in cold weather) Lymphedema Lymphedema causes swelling in your arms and legs. It’s caused by lymph fluid building up in the body. People diagnosed with lymphedema are most often people undergoing treatment for cancer, including breast cancer. In addition to wrinkly skin, lymphedema…

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    Wrinkled Or Pruney Fingers: Causes, Treatment And …

    Wrinkled Or Pruney Fingers: What Causes Wrinkled Fingers? You must have noticed that when your hands are continuously exposed to water while washing utensils, after having a bath or after washing clothes, your fingertips become wrinkled. This is known as pruney fingers. They could serve a role by helping people grip wet objects or objects in water. When the skin of the fingers and toes come in contact with water for a long time, the wrinkled skin resembles a dried prune (a dried plum). But, if you get wrinkled fingers without them being submerged in water, it could be a sign of a medical problem. What Causes Pruney Or Wrinkled Fingers? Pruney fingers occur when the nervous system transmits a message to the blood vessels to become narrower. The narrowed blood vessels reduce the size of the fingertips slightly, causing loose folds of the skin that form wrinkles. Hands immersed in water for a long period of time is the most common cause of pruney fingers. Medical Conditions That Cause Wrinkled Fingers The following conditions may cause wrinkled skin on the fingers: 1. Dehydration Dehydration occurs when you don’t drink plenty of water and your skin starts losing some of its elasticity and may look shrivelled. Dehydration can affect your skin making it look dry. The other symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth and lips, headache, dizziness, being confused or irritated and a darkish yellow urine. 2. Diabetes Diabetes affects the functioning of the body that controls the blood sugar levels. High levels of blood glucose in any type of diabetes can cause wrinkled fingers. It damages the sweat glands and the lack of sweat causes dryness. Diabetic people are also at a risk of several skin conditions like bacterial infections, fungal infections, etc. 3. Eczema It is a skin condition that causes skin inflammation, itchiness, rashes and redness. Eczema dries out the skin and causes the skin to wrinkle. Atopic dermatitis is a long-term form of eczema which causes redness and dry skin that may swell up or itch. 4. Raynaud’s disease It is a disease that affects the small blood vessels that supply blood to the smallest parts of the body, including the fingers and toes. Raynaud’s disease occurs when you are exposed to extreme cold and the symptoms are fingers turning white or blue in the cold, numbness and tingling. 5. Thyroid disorder People who have a thyroid disorder can have pruney fingers as well as skin rash. Many experts believe that hypothyroidism is more likely to cause wrinkly fingers because it slows down your metabolism and lowers your body temperature. When your body temperature is lowered, the blood vessels in your fingers constrict to prevent loss of heat. This constriction causes wrinkles on the skin. 6. Lymphedema Lymphedema happens when there is a swelling in the arms and legs. The swelling is caused when the lymphatic system is blocked, as a result of the removal or damage to your lymph nodes during the treatment of cancer. The lymph fluid cannot drain out properly and the fluid build-up causes swelling in the arms and legs. It can affect the fingers and cause pruney fingers. When Should You See A Doctor? If pruney fingers occur due to water exposure, there is nothing to worry about because the skin becomes normal after being dry for some time. If pruney fingers occur without the fingers being immersed in water and due to the above underlying medical conditions, then you should immediately visit your doctor. Make a note of your symptoms so that your doctor can make a diagnosis. How To Prevent And Treat Wrinkled Fingers? As said earlier, fingers wrinkling due to water in any which way doesn’t damage your body. But, to prevent this from happening, you can do the following steps: 1. Wear rubber gloves while washing the dishes and avoid immersing your hands for a long time in water. 2. Drink plenty…

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    Why Do Our Fingers and Toes Wrinkle During a Bath?

    Why Do Our Fingers and Toes Wrinkle During a Bath?Scientists think that they have the answer to why the skin on human fingers and toes shrivels up like an old prune when we soak in the bath. Laboratory tests confirmed a theory that wrinkly fingers improve our grip on wet or submerged objects, working to channel away the water like the rain treads in car tires. People often assume that wrinkling is the result of water passing into the outer layer of the skin and making it swell up. But researchers have known since the 1930s that the effect does not occur when there is nerve damage in the fingers. This points to the change being an involuntary reaction by the body’s autonomic nervous system — the system that also controls breathing, heart rate and perspiration. In fact, the distinctive wrinkling is caused by blood vessels constricting below the skin. In 2011, Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist at 2AI Labs in Boise, Idaho, and his colleagues, suggested that wrinkling, being an active process, must have an evolutionary function. The team also showed that the pattern of wrinkling appeared to be optimized for providing a drainage network that improved grip. But until now, there was no proof that wrinkly fingers did in fact offer an advantage. In the latest study, participants picked up wet or dry objects including marbles of different sizes with normal hands or with fingers wrinkled after soaking in warm water for 30 minutes. The subjects were faster at picking up wet marbles with wrinkled fingers than with dry ones, but wrinkles made no difference for moving dry objects. The results are published today in Biology Letters. “We have shown that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions — it could be working like treads on your car tires, which allow more of the tire to be in contact with the road and gives you a better grip,” says Tom Smulders, an evolutionary biologist at Newcastle University, UK, and a co-author of the paper. Hold tight Wrinkled fingers could have helped our ancestors to gather food from wet vegetation or streams, Smulders adds. The analogous effect in the toes could help us to get a better footing in the rain. Changizi says that the results provide behavioral evidence “that pruney fingers are rain treads”, which are consistent with his own team’s morphological findings. What remains to be done, he adds, is to check that similar wrinkling occurs in other animals for which it would provide the same advantages. “At this point we just don’t know who has them, besides us and macaques.” Given that wrinkles confer an advantage with wet objects but apparently no disadvantage with dry ones, it’s not clear why our fingers are not permanently wrinkled, says Smulders. But he has some ideas. “Our initial thoughts are that this could diminish the sensitivity in our fingertips or could increase the risk of damage through catching on objects.” This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on January 9, 2013.

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    Why your nervous system wrinkles your fingers

    Why your nervous system wrinkles your fingers – Mapping Ignorance Photo credit: Flickr/Sharron Drummond You come back home really tired after a long day at work and you decide to take that loooong bath you’ve been waiting for. You stay in the water for some time and suddenly you realize your fingers are wrinkling. Oh boy, that is telling you that you’ve been there for a while and reminds you all the stuff you still have to do! But… does the body do this to let us know that we’ve been in a bath for too long? What is the real reason behind this process? And how is it really happening? It is commonly assumed that finger wrinkling is the result of water passing passively into the outer layer of the skin and making it swell up. However, although everybody seems to believe that explanation, that is actually quite wrong. Researchers have known since the 30s that skin wrinkling does not occur when there is nerve damage in the fingers indicating that is not a passive process but an active one that is controlled by the nerves 1. Even more, this knowledge has led to the implementation of the Wrinkling Test, a medical test that checks wrinkling of patients to assess their possible peripheral nerve damage 23. More recent studies have shown that finger wrinkling is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, a division of the peripheral nervous system that also controls other involuntary body functions such as breathing or digesting. However, it is still unclear how the whole system works, and more importantly, why it is there. The way this system works is not perfectly clear, but we have some clues. First, our hands have to sense the aquatic environment in a distinctive way (we don’t have wrinkling in our arms, for example). The palm of the hand possesses an incredible amount of sweat glands, around 370 per cm2. Each of those glands has a small duct to reach the surface of the skin and it is believed that when those are underwater, some amount of water can go through the duct and reach the gland inside the hand. This process is thought to be sensed by the sympathetic nervous system that in turn reacts by reducing blood flow through the vessels of the finger. Now blood vessels have restricted blood, which reduces their volume, and this situation causes the skin to shrink inward, forming the wrinkles we observe after taking a bath 4. The physiology behind this process is quite amazing and involves a coordinated action between the nervous system and the circulatory system. So the obvious question is: Why is this process acquired during evolution? What is the advantage of finger wrinkling? Some researchers have started to study this phenomenon. The first approach was theoretical and was proposed by Mark Changizi and colleges in 2011 5. They propose that wet-induced wrinkles have been selected to enhance grip in wet conditions, i.e. one should be able to pick up wet objects better after finger wrinkling. Changizi proposes that the wrinkles in fingers work like rain treads on tires. They create channels that allow water to drain away as you press your fingertips on to wet surfaces, which would allow your fingers to make better contact giving you a better grip. Figure 1. Smooth tires such as the racing tire (left) provide the best grip in dry conditions. However, in wet conditions rain treads (right) are better. The hypothesis proposed by Changizi et al suggests that, although smooth fingertips provide the best grip in dry conditions, fingertips wrinkle in wet conditions for better grip, akin to rain treads.A few years later, another study aimed to experimentally test the prediction that handling of submerged objects is more efficient with wrinkled fingers than without. To do so, they recruited participants and asked them to put their hands in warm water for 30min or keep them dry. After that, the participants had to move dry…

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    The surprising benefits of fingers that wrinkle in water – BBC

    The surprising benefits of fingers that wrinkle in waterThe surprising benefits of fingers that wrinkle in water(Image credit: Neil Juggins/Alamy)The skin on our fingertips and toes shrivels like prunes when soaked for a few minutes in water. But is this an adaptation that occurred to help us in our evolutionary past? And what can it reveal about your health today?SSpend more than a few minutes soaking in a bath or paddling around a swimming pool and your fingers will undergo a dramatic transformation. Where there were once delicate whorls of lightly ridged epidermis, engorged folds of ugly pruned skin will now be found.  This striking change is familiar yet also baffling. Only the skin on our fingers and toes wrinkle when immersed in water, while other body parts such as our forearms, torso, legs and face remain no more crinkled than before they were submerged. This water-induced wrinkling of skin on our fingertips and toes has occupied the thoughts and work of scientists for decades. Most have puzzled over what causes this puckering in the first place, but more recently the question of why, and what purpose it may serve, has attracted the attention of researchers. Perhaps more intriguing still, however, is what our shriveled fingers can reveal about our own health. It takes around 3.5 minutes in warm water – 40C (104F) is considered the optimal temperature – for your fingertips to begin wrinkling, while in cooler temperatures of about 20C (68F) it can take up to 10 minutes. Most studies have found it takes around 30 minutes of soaking time to reach maximum wrinklage, however. Fingertip wrinkling was commonly thought to be a passive response where the upper layers of the skin swelled as water flooded into the cells via a process known as osmosis – where water molecules move across a membrane to equalise the concentration of the solutions on either side. But as long ago as 1935, scientists have suspected there is more to the process than this. Doctors studying patients with injuries that had severed the median nerve – one of the main nerves that run down the arm to the hand – found that their fingers did not wrinkle. Among its many roles, the median nerve helps to control so-called sympathetic activities such as sweating and the constriction of blood vessels. Their discovery suggested that the water-induced wrinkling of fingertips was in fact controlled by the nervous system.The skin on our feet and hands shrivel and wrinkle in the bath, while other parts of our body do not undergo the same transformation (Credit: Andrii Biletskyi/Alamy)Later studies by doctors in the 1970s provided further evidence of this, and they proposed using the immersion of the hands in water as a simple bedside test to assess nerve damage that might affect the regulation of unconscious processes such as blood flow. Then in 2003, neurologists Einar Wilder-Smith and Adeline Chow, who were working at the National University Hospital in Singapore at the time, took measurements of blood circulation in the hands of volunteers as they soaked them in water. They found that as the skin on the volunteers’ fingertips began to wrinkle, there was a significant drop in blood flow in the fingers. When they applied a local anesthetic cream that caused the blood vessels in the fingers of healthy volunteers to temporarily constrict, they found it produced similar levels of wrinkling as water immersion. “It makes sense when you look at your fingers when they go wrinkly,” says Nick Davis, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, who has studied fingertip…

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    Wrinkled Pruney Skin – AnxietyCentre.com

    Wrinkled (Pruney) SkinCauses Medical Advisory Talk to your doctor about all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms as some medical conditions and medications can cause anxiety-like symptoms. Additional Medical Advisory Information. 1. The stress response Anxious behavior, such as worry, activates the stress response, preparing the body for emergency action. This survival reaction is often referred to as the fight or flight response, the emergency response, the fight, flight, or freeze response (some people freeze when they are afraid, like a “deer caught in headlights”), or the fight, flight, freeze, or faint response (since some people faint when they are afraid).[1][2] Visit our “Stress Response” article for more information about its many changes. Some of these changes include: Quickly converts the body’s energy reserves into “fuel” (blood sugar) to provide an instant boost of energy. Stimulates the nervous system, increasing nervous system activity to be more sensitive and reactive to danger. Shunts blood to parts of the body more vital to survival, such as the brain, arms, legs, and vital organs, and away from parts less vital for survival, such as the stomach, digestive system, and skin. It accomplishes this by constricting blood vessels in certain parts of the body and dilating them in others. Causes muscles to tighten. The higher the degree of the stress response, the more dramatic the changes. Since stress responses push the body beyond its internal balance (homeostasis), stress responses stress the body. As such, anxiety stresses the body. Stress can cause “pruney” skin as if you’ve been in the water a long time. For instance, stress narrows the blood vessels in the skin to shunt blood to parts more important for survival. Narrowing blood vessels in the fingertips and toe tips can cause “pruney” skin.[3][4] Furthermore, elevated blood sugar and an overly excited nervous system can cause “pruney” skin.[3][4] Some anxious people notice “pruney” skin during an active stress response. 2. Hyperstimulation Frequent activation of the stress response can create a state of semi-stress response readiness, which we call “stress-response hyperstimulation” since stress hormones are powerful stimulants. Hyperstimulation is also often referred to as “hyperarousal,” “HPA axis dysfunction,” or “nervous system dysregulation.”[5][6] Visit our “Hyperstimulation” article for more information about the many ways hyperstimulation can affect the body and how we feel. Just as an active stress response acutely stresses the body, hyperstimulation chronically stresses the body. Since hyperstimulation can cause the body to act erratically, hyperstimulation is a common cause of chronic and erratic “pruney” skin. This is especially true because of how hyperstimulation can affect muscle tension, artery restriction, blood sugar, nervous system regulation, homeostatic regulation, and hormone changes. Moreover, chronic stress can affect the thyroid gland, causing high or low thyroid levels. High or low thyroid levels can cause “pruney” skin. Furthermore, chronic stress can deplete important vitamin levels, including vitamin B, especially B12. Low vitamin B12 can also cause pruney skin. Dehydration can also cause pruney skin. Chronic stress can dehydrate the body if sufficient fluids aren’t ingested. Many anxious and chronically stressed people get this symptom from time to time. Other Factors Other factors can create stress and cause anxiety-like symptoms, as well as aggravate existing anxiety symptoms, including: Medication Recreational drugs Stimulants Sleep deprivation Fatigue Hyper and hypoventilation Hormone changes Pain Select the relevant link for more information. ———- Advertisement – Article Continues Below ———- ———- Advertisement Ends ———- Treatment When this symptom is caused or aggravated by other factors, addressing those factors can reduce and eliminate it. When this symptom is caused by anxious behavior and active stress response, ending the stress response will end its changes. This symptom should subside as your body recovers from the active stress response. Keep in mind it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. When this symptom is caused by hyperstimulation (chronic stress), eliminating hyperstimulation…

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