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Name: Richard
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A student in my anatomy and physiology class asked me, "When it's very cold outside in the winter, why does your skin hurt MORE than usual when you bang your finger or someone slaps you on the arm?"

Wow! This is one outstanding question.

Mammals respond to cold weather with the hypothalamus releasing thyrotropin releasing factor. This production increases with the severity of the cold weather and the length of the exposure to cold over a long period of time (at least three to four weeks). The thyroid responds by slowly increasing in size and releases thyroxine at higher quantities. Thyroxine increases the sensitivity of the entire nervous system. As a matter of fact, as you probably know, it increases the metabolism wholesale! within the body. This gets complicated so I'm keeping it simple. So, the bottom line is thyroxine. It just heightens our sensitivity not only to cold but our entire nervous system is enhanced.

Steve Sample

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