Navigation Links
Grab a Tool and Change Your Brain
Date:6/25/2009

In the mind's eye, an arm or hand changes shape, study finds,,

THURSDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Pick up a golf club and your brain may do more than look for an easy par three.

New research suggests that the brain considers tools to be extensions of the body.

The mere act of holding a mechanical grasping tool "temporarily modifies the cerebral representation of a subject's arm," said Lucilla Cardinali, a graduate student in France and lead author of the study.

In other words, people think their arm is longer, at least for a moment.

It's not immediately clear what this new knowledge about the "schema" -- people's internal representation of themselves in the world -- could mean in terms of treatment of illness.

But it could potentially help people with conditions that have disrupted their view of their place in space, such as amputees who receive hand transplants, said Cardinali, who studies at Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France.

Scientists have discussed the concept of schema since the 19th century as they've tried to figure out how the brain comprehends where someone is and where that person wants to go.

To move around, people must understand their position in the space around them and also have to anticipate what will happen when they move their bodies or a body part. Usually that's done with ease.

"You know exactly where that toothbrush needs to go to fit your teeth -- as if it's an extension of your arm," said Paul Sanberg, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.

Some people with neurological problems have difficulty with that process, however, and tests have shown they can't imagine rotating their hands, Cardinali said.

In the French study, published in the June 23 issue of Current Biology, researchers used measurements to show that people acted as if their arms had extended after using a mechanical grasping tool.

"People move their hands as if their arms were longer," Cardinali said. And when asked to point to their elbow and middle fingertip, the two points they indicated were further apart after using the tool.

The study proves for the first time that people extend their representation of themselves when using tools, Cardinali said.

Of course, people don't notice that they're continually creating an idea of where they are in relation to space and things. That makes sense, Cardinali said, because the brain doesn't have the resources to make someone aware of the entire body's place in space when the person wants to move.

But the schema system is still in place, she said, meaning that "you don't need to pay attention to your feet at every step or visually look in the mirror and visually control your movements while you brush your teeth."

Understanding more about the human body's schema could lead to better understanding of such diseases as anorexia, in which people think they're heavy when they're not, said Sanberg, the Florida neurosurgeon.

"How they perceive their body may not be exactly what is in the real world," he said. How we position ourselves in space could play a role.

More information

The Lundbeck Institute has more about the brain.



SOURCES: Lucilla Cardinali, graduate student, Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., distinguished professor, neurosurgery, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa; June 23, 2009, Current Biology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Intact America Launches Campaign to Change How America Thinks About Male Circumcision
2. Hospice of Michigan President and CEO Available for Comment on New England Journal of Medicine Article on Profits in Hospice Industry and Proposed Changes From MedPAC
3. Traveling Healthcare Staffing Company, Medical Solutions, Announces a Ttitle change for its Recruiters to Career Consultants
4. How to Change Someone You Love Offers Help to Those Who Feel Powerless in the Face of Addiction
5. Public Ready for Changes to Health-Care System But Unclear About Necessary Trade-Offs, Citizen Forums Suggest
6. Cell Therapeutics Announces Final Results of its Fixed Price Exchange Offers for Any and All of its $118.9 Million Convertible Notes Outstanding
7. Study finds that tobacco companies changed design of cigarettes without alerting smokers
8. HealthTronics, Inc. Commences Exchange Offer for Endocare, Inc. Shares
9. Cell Therapeutics Announces Preliminary Results of its Fixed Price Exchange Offers for Any and All of its $118.9 Million Convertible Notes Outstanding
10. She Just Wanted to Dance Again: Navigate the Exchange of Parent-Caregiving Relationships Through Example, Advice
11. Are angiotensins involved in the hemodynamic changes of cirrhosis patients?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Grab a Tool and Change Your Brain
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals ... the field of eating disorders, announces the opening of early registration for the ... at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. , The annual iaedp™ Symposium ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab Shelton ... staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill on ... Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the Connecticut ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids ... Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, ... run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Orleans, LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... centers in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location in ... will occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)...  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort moves is ... (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) medical device ... industry is in an odd place.  The industry wants ... tax on medical device sales passed along with the ... increased visits and hospital customers with the funding to ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... KALAMAZOO, Mich. , Sept. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... and OptiMed Specialty Pharmacy of Kalamazoo, Mich. ... a strategic hub service that expedites and streamlines patient ... spirometer, Spiro PD 2.0, and wellness management services.  ... a medical device used to measure lung function for ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... , Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews on the independent review ... as the number one company for hearing aids, ranking it higher ... other brands. ... Named #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Embrace Hearing is an online store that provides high performance, state-of-the-art, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: