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Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in Science | 1 comment

Woman feels phantom hand syndrome never had fingers

Woman feels phantom hand syndrome never had fingers

(CC) clundh

One of the most striking features of the human brain is perhaps the limb syndrome, which is when a person is a member amputated but still makes the brain perceives the sensation that the member is connected to the body. This can happen with one hand, an arm, a tooth, an eye, etcécetera (there are even cases like that of a woman who felt her uterus removed after a hysterectomy ).

The problem is that in most cases, people suffer from severe pain in these members removed. Patients with this syndrome do not suffer from delusions, they know they are not a member but suffer the same pains that led to removal of the member with vivid sensations. The problem is so severe that even some patients who have committed suicide by pains in members not actually have.

But now unveiled one of the most striking cases of phantom limb syndrome. A U.S. woman with the initials RN, was born with only three fingers on his right hand. To his misfortune, he had to remove the hand after a car accident when he was 18, and after a while began to feel that his hand was removed attached to his arm.

“But something interesting happens here,” says Paul McGeoch , University of California at San Diego. “His hand had three fingers ghost, but five.”

RN felt her five fingers, but never had the fingers, thumb and forefinger, the shorter was a little less than half the normal length. It was 30 years and when McGeoch along with the neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran , one of the world’s leading experts phantom limb syndrome, heard the case, the RN underwent therapy mirror box and managed to ‘estirarle’ ghost fingers normal length (a great demonstration of how it works mirror box can be seen in the episode ‘The tyrant’ Dr. House ).

McGeoch says that this experiment shows that our brain is wired to have a physical representation of how our body should be independent of how it really is. “The existence of the deformed hand suppressed the idea that the brain was innately on the fingers, so it seemed shorter,” says McGeoch.

In scientific publication , Ramachandran and McGeoch conclude that this case “demonstrates a deep interaction between nurturing and nature in the formation of body image.”

Link: Woman’s missing digits grow back in phantom form (New Scientist)

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