Neuroscience

Phantom limbs learn impossible tricks

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research has shown that body images can be formed independently of external sensory inputs, and that the phantom limbs of amputees can be trained to carry out tasks that would be impossible for real limbs.

Medical research

World premiere of muscle- and nerve-controlled arm prosthesis

For the first time an operation has been conducted, at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, where electrodes have been permanently implanted in nerves and muscles of an amputee to directly control an arm prosthesis. The result ...

Neuroscience

Phantom limb formation relates to how sensory contact is lost

The phantom limbs perceived by many amputees and others who lose sensory connection with their bodies, do not form in “default” postures as often thought, but instead coalesce into positions that are dependent on ...

Medical research

Fingernails reveal clues to limb regeneration

Mammals possess the remarkable ability to regenerate a lost fingertip, including the nail, nerves and even bone. In humans, an amputated fingertip can sprout back in as little as two months, a phenomenon that has remained ...

Medical research

Research offers Pa. woman new arm, 14 years after amputation

Over the 14 years since losing her right arm to a hollow-point bullet, Dana Burke was convinced she could feel herself pointing, pinching or waving as she motioned with the 5-inch-long limb the attack left behind.

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Amputation

Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for such problems. A special case is the congenital amputation, a congenital disorder, where fetal limbs have been cut off by constrictive bands. In some countries, amputation of the hands or feet is or was used as a form of punishment for people who committed crimes. Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism; it may also occur as a war injury. In some cultures and religions, minor amputations or mutilations are considered a ritual accomplishment. Unlike some non-mammalian animals (such as lizards that shed their tails, salamanders that can regrow many missing body parts, and hydras, flatworms, and starfish that can regrow entire bodies from small fragments), once removed, human extremities do not grow back, unlike portions of some organs, such as the liver. A transplant or a prosthesis are the only options for recovering the loss.

In the US, the majority of new amputations occur due to complications of the vascular system (of or pertaining to the blood vessels), especially from diabetes. Between 1988 and 1996, there was an average of 133,735 hospital discharges for amputation per year in the US. .

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