Until now, taste was the only primary sensory modality for which the human central nervous system pathways were unknown. We report sensations evoked by stimulation at microampere current levels in the region of the human thalamic nucleus (ventralis caudalis parvocellularis internis) corresponding to the monkey taste relay nucleus. Stimulation in this region during awake neurosurgical procedures evoked special visceral/somatic (taste/pungent smell), general visceral (fullness of a hollow viscus), as well as painful and nonpainful general somatic sensations. General somatic or visceral sensation was evoked by stimulation at 80% of sites where special visceral/somatic sensation was evoked. These results suggest that primate taste relay mediates multiple sensations in addition to taste.
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