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Show Your Feet!

Research teams from Chemnitz and Harvard study foot sole sensitivity depending on whether shoes are worn or not – Participants wanted for a new study

How does a life without shoes affect the sensitivity of our feet? Scientists from the Professorship of Human Locomotion at the Chemnitz University of Technology have been working to answer this question since June 2017. In this effort, they are collaborating with Professor Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University. The American evolutionary biologist is also primarily focused on researching the human locomotive system.

“Sensors in the sole of the foot constitute a fundamental source of information for our balance system and are therefore of particular importance for seniors or people with an increased risk of falling,” explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Milani, head of the Professorship in Chemnitz. Without shoes, the human foot forms more calluses on the anatomical regions that endure more stress. Prof. Milani traveled to Kenya in 2017 in order to determine whether these changes influence sensor perception. His team worked with researchers from Harvard in order to study and compare two groups of test subjects. In the rural region of Nandi, where farmers often do not own shoes, a group of 40 people who never wear footwear was assembled and measurements were taken. Subsequently, the Institute for Physiology at the Moi University in Kenya examined a control group that always wore shoes in the city of Eldoret.

In order to determine whether the data collected in Africa is comparable to the findings which have been collected in Chemnitz thus far, a third round of study participants are to be measured. The same techniques used in Africa will also be applied here. Men and women aged 20-60 years are encouraged to apply to participate in the study by contacting the team by telephone: 0371 531-34464

More information is available from Bert Wynands, Telephone 0371 531-34464, E-Mail bert.wynands@hsw.tu-chemnitz.de, and Tina Drechsel, Telephone 0371 531-30022, E-Mail tina.drechsel@hsw.tu-chemnitz.de.

(Transation: Sarah Wilson)

Mario Steinebach
18.01.2018

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