The findings suggest that the patients who carry the mutations in the PIEZO2 gene are "touch-blind,"
Alexander Chesler, a principal investigator at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and one of the lead authors of the study, says: "The patient's version of [the gene] PIEZO2 may not work, so their neurons cannot detect touch or limb movements."
Healthy individuals rely on the sense to perform a variety of tasks like playing the piano, shifting gears in a car, or typing on a keyboard, another lead author of the study, pediatric neurologist Carsten Bönnemann explains. Doing these things requires awareness of one’s limbs in space. The patients lacked this instinctual awareness, but were able to largely compensate for it by watching their limbs.