Noritaka Kawashima: “Understanding the phenomenon of phantom limb”
CiNet 1F Conference Room
National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities
A phantom limb is the sensation where an amputated limb is still attached to the body and is moving together with other body parts. This phenomenon is reported by almost all amputees, and is usually accompanied by pain. While some amputees have a vivid kinesthesia for their phantom limb, previous studies have described others as having an awareness of the missing limb as clenched and paralyzed in a specific position. One possible interpretation for the latter case is that the amputee cannot send motor commands to the missing limb. This interpretation can work under the premise that the patient no longer has a motor representation of the phantom limb. However, there are some findings which support the idea that the patients still possess the ability to send motor commands to the missing part. In my talk, I demonstrate several cases of upper limb amputees who had extraordinary experience with their phantom limb, and will then introduce our attempts for better understanding of the phantom limb phenomenon and novel strategy for minimizing phantom limb pain through use of newly-developed prosthesis.