隱形肢體

The Mind-Body Problem: Scientific American

In Annals of Neurology, the researchers, led by Asaid Khateb, report the case a 64 year-old librarian who began to experience a supernumerary phantom limb four days after being hospitalized with a stroke. The phantom, she said, started from the elbow of her left arm (which had been paralyzed by the stroke) and felt “just like a real hand," but was “weightless." “transparent" and “thinner" than her actual arms. The patient also told the doctors that the phantom was not experienced permanently, but only when she intentionally “triggered" it. Furthermore, it was anatomically correct and functional—she said that it had flexible, independently moveable joints at the elbow, wrist and fingers, and claimed that she could not only see it, but also feel it and purposefully move it.

The doctors placed her into a brain scanner, and asked her to scratch her cheek with her phantom limb. Remarkably, the scan confirmed the patient’s subjective reports. When she willed the phantom limb into action, the doctors observed an increase in the activity of the right motor cortex. When she said that the phantom was approaching her face, they observed an increase in visual cortical activity. And when she told them that the limb had made contact, they observed increased activity in the region of somatosensory cortex corresponding to the cheek. The patient’s brain had generated a virtual simulation of a fully functional arm, which had been incorporated into the body image and which ran alongside the neural representations of her real arms. In her mind, this virtual arm was just as real as her actual arms.

interesting

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