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Emily Alspector's picture

Psychosomatics and Phantom Limbs

Welcome to the on-line forum associated with the 2008 senior seminar in Neural and Behavioral Sciences at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Its a way to keep conversations going between course meetings, and to do so in a way that makes our conversations available to other who may in turn have interesting thoughts to contribute to them.

Thoughts this week about

and our conversation based on them ....



From Emily Alspector ...

Hey everyone! Felicia and I want to thank you all for a great discussion tonight! We went in a lot of interesting directions but there is still a lot left to discuss. Here are some things we didn't talk about:

Phantom Limbs and the Self (and/or the afterlife)

  • Cortical reorganization: why might this mechanism have evolved?
  • What do current PLP treatments (mirror therapy, virtual reality) imply about the nature of the condition? About pain in general?
  • How might media/culture affect diagnosis practices?
  • Ethical issues in treating (or not treating) a psychosomatic illness

And some things that were discussed but could possibly be further thought about:

  • Painkiller self-administration and the role of agency
  • How do we define Psychology and Physiology?
  • If side effects become more prevalent when salient, what ethical issues are involved in revealing all information to patients?
  • Are herbal remedies merely placebos?
  • What affect does self-diagnosis (WedMD) and overdiagnosis (RLS, SAD, PMS) have in terms of our individualistic society and group identification?



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