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Non-Amputees Can Experience the Illusion of a 'Phantom' Limb
Date:4/11/2013

and, participants who experienced the phantom limb illusion pointed to their invisible hand instead of their real hand.

The participants also underwent an MRI to assess their brain activity. The illusion of a phantom limb was associated with increased activity in the parts of the brain that are typically active when people see their real hand being touched or when a prosthetic hand is viewed as real, according to the report published in the current issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

"This illusion suggests that the experience of phantom limbs is not unique to amputated individuals, but can easily be created in non-amputees," concluded the study's principal investigator, Dr. Henrik Ehrsson, docent at the department of neuroscience. "These results add to our understanding of how phantom sensations are produced by the brain, which can contribute to future research on alleviating phantom pain in amputees," he said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about phantom limb pain.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Karolinska Institute, news release, April 11, 2013


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