An Article Review of Phantom Movements and Pain: An FMRI Study in Upper Limb Amputees

Topics: Amputation, Phantom limb, Phantom pain Pages: 3 (1169 words) Published: July 21, 2011
Phantom Movements and Pain was a study conducted by Martin Lotze, Herta Flor, Wolgang Grodd, Wolfgang Larbig, and Niels Birbaumer (2001). The study investigated upper limb amputees with phantom limb pain compared to a control group of people with no amputations. The authors used fMRI to see which areas of the brain were activated while the groups executed movements of the non amputated hand and while they imagined movements of the amputated hand. The purpose of the study was to examine cortical reorganization and the effects that phantom limb pain has on it. The article was well written, but I think that some aspects of the study could have been better explained. The study contained a total of twenty one subjects. Of the twenty one, fourteen were unilateral upper limb amputees, ten of which were men. The other seven subjects made of the control group which consisted of all non amputees. The amputees’ ages ranged from 26-78 years while the control group ranged from 35-52 years. The subjects in the control group had no neurological complications and were the same age as the amputee patients. Phantom limb pain, stump pain, and non-painful phantom and stump phenomena were judged on a scale of 0 to 6 before scanning, 0 being no pain and 6 being unbearable pain. Since the control group had full use of both hands, they had to be trained in the imagined movement task in an fMRI simulator so that there would be no muscle activity during imagery. Imagination was scored on a scale from 0 to 6, with o being no image and 6 being vivid image. Once the individuals in the control group reached a score of 4 their training was complete. During the fMRI, the subjects performed movements with the intact hand and imagined making a fist with the amputated hand. The control group performed both tasks with both hands. All of the subjects also had to perform lip-pursing movements, both actual and imagined. All together, 48 whole-brain maps were made for each condition. The...
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