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
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Celebrities Who Got Pregnant Using IVF: Busting the Myths About IVF
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- Ebola Virus Vaccine Not Coming Soon Enough; Australia and New Zealand Prepare for Possible Outbreak
- Ebola Virus Spreading in Africa Could Reach US
- Top 10 Deadliest Viruses To Ever Exist
- Gluten-Free Diets? Research Says it Contains No Nutrition!
- Megan Fox's Weight Loss Aided by Low Carb Paleo Diet: Benefits of the Diet
- Apple iPhone 6 Release Date Update: 6 Most Wanted Feature Upgrades for Next iPhone
- Moto X Android 4.4.4 KitKat Update Guide: Schedule and How to Install
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers
- OnePlus One vs. Moto X+1 – Early Specifications, Release Date and Price Faceoff
- 2014 Ebola Outbreak: ‘Out of control… and Can Get Worse'; Asky Airline Stops Flying to Liberia, Sierra Leone; Liberia Closes Schools