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JaymElaine's picture

Phantom Limb

So, this week I wanted to talk about phantom limb. I thought that this was actually cool to think about; surely such a condition is not cool to experience, but noneoftheless, I liked learning about it. Phantom limb is a condition in which a victim of a lost limb still feels that his/her limb still exists and that that limb can still feel sensation. See when one loses a limb, he/she is merely losing skin, some bone, a little muscle, and a few hundred nerve endings. But what is interesting is that the nerve beginnings are still in tact, and they still fire. These firings make the victim feel as though his/her limb is still there. Phantom limb can be quite painful, for nerves are firing and no output is being produced as a result; so what happens? More firing. And this leads to the brain being so fustrated with trying to tell the lost-limb a message that it causes pain for the victim.  Now that we know of this condition, let us not assume that people who complain about a lost limb are "crazy"; instead let us educate others who may not know about this neurological condition in hopes of providing more sympathy to those victims of phantom limb.

Jayme E. Hopkins, '08


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