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Molly Pieri's picture

Phantom limbs and mirrors...

I read that some people who experience phantom limbs use mirrors to alleviate symptoms (itching, discomfort etc.) For more on the subject... http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/357/21/2206. From what I understand, a person using this technique for dealing with phantom limb discomfort sets up a mirror to reflect his/her remaining limb where the amputated limb would have been (thus giving a visual existence to the phantom limb), and scratching/massaging/whatever-ing the existing limb. I've read that this only only will "scratch the itch" in the phantom limb, but also in some cases cause the sensations of the phantom limb to stop all together.

I wonder how the idea of phantom limbs being treated by "tricking" the brain in this way plays into what we've been discussing in class...

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