Virtual Arm Found Effective in Managing Phantom Limb Pain (VIDEO)
By Roshni Mahesh | February 27, 2014 1:27 AM EST
Scientists in Sweden have developed an effective treatment for phantom limb pain (PLP), a medical disorder that makes a person feel pain in the amputated limb area.
Chalmers University of Technol
Scientists in Sweden have developed an effective treatment for phantom limb pain (PLP), a medical disorder that makes a person feel pain in the amputated limb area. (Chalmers University of Technology)
Though phantom limb pain is a common difficulty experienced after one loses his/her arm or leg, it can also happen after the removal of other body parts like eye, tongue, breast or penis. Health experts say that it is not a psychological problem as the sensations originally stem from brain and spinal cord. This is because the nerve endings on the amputated area continue sending pain signals to the brain, giving it a feeling that the limb has not been removed but is still in its original position.
Apart from severe pain, the condition also gives a feeling of cramping, tingling, heat and cold in the area. Though various methods, including medication, mirror therapy, acupuncture and hypnosis, are available to treat phantom limb pain, nothing has been effective.
The new technique works on a virtual arm, created with the help of an augmented reality, and thus tricking the brain and making it believe that the amputated part exists. Interestingly, the superimposed virtual arm can be entirely controlled by the patient's own brain.
"There are several features of this system which combined might be the cause of pain relief" Max Ortiz Catalan, researcher at Chalmers University of Technology, who developed the method, said in a news release. "The motor areas in the brain needed for movement of the amputated arm are reactivated, and the patient obtains visual feedback that tricks the brain into believing there is an arm executing such motor commands. He experiences himself as a whole, with the amputated arm back in place."
Initial experiments, on a patient suffering from phantom limb pain for 48 years, showed that the system is highly effective in reducing pain.
The study has been reported in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.
Watch how the new technique works:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Caught Flirting In A Countryside Dinner Date [PHOTOS]
- Kate Middleton’s Mom Accused Of Being A Social Climber, Prince George Not Seen By Relatives
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt’s Top Secret Wedding Tramps Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Friends’ Reunion & Pregnancy Talks [PHOTOS]
- 2014 US Open: Hottest Male Tennis Players To Watch [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Ebola: American Doctors in Liberia Trying Out New Methods
- Boxing News 2014: 12 Days to Mayweather-Maidana Rematch; Money May’s Bikram Yoga Routine Includes Placing $100 Bills Around Mat
- 5 Deadly Reasons to Stay Away From Soda (Watch Video)
- Bill Clinton Credits Sugar-Free Diet For Weight Loss: A Vegan Diet If Not Followed Properly Can Cause Weight Gain
- Low-Carb Diet Helps Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Aids Weight Loss; A Look At Celebs Who Adopted The Diet
- Pricey iPhone 6 on Release Date Likely but with 3X Retina Resolution & Mobile Payment Service – Reports
- 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 is iPhone Air on Sept 19 Release Date: 5 Things to Consider Before Buying
- Nexus 6 Release Date Update: Moto X+1 Look Leaked, Nexus X or Shamu Moved to Demo Phase
- Google Nexus 8 Confirmed as HTC T1 aka Volantis/Flounder with Freshly-Leaked Specs & Features – Reports
- Europe, US Next on ISIS’ Hit List, Says Saudi King; Seized ISIS Laptop Reveals Terrifying Bio-Warfare Plans
- iPhone 6 On Release Date To Feature Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE, 1GB RAM, Mobile Payment Deal With AMEX, 1334x750 Display
- Leaker of Actresses Nude Photos Accepting PayPal Donations in Exchange For Posting Alleged Sex Video of Jennifer Lawrence, Has Naked Pictures of 100 Hollywood A-Listers