Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work

10.03.2014

Researcher at Chalmers University of Technology, University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital has developed a new method for the treatment of phantom limb pain (PLP) after an amputation. The method is based on a unique combination of several technologies, and has been initially tested on a patient who has suffered from severe phantom limb pain for 48 years. A case study shows a drastic reduction of pain.

People who lose an arm or a leg often experience phantom sensations, as if the missing limb were still there. Seventy per cent of amputees experience pain in the amputated limb despite that it no longer exists.

Phantom limb pain can be a serious chronic and deteriorating condition that reduces the quality of the person´s life considerably. The exact cause of phantom limb pain and other phantom sensations is yet unknown.

Different treatment methods

... more about:
»Phantom limb pain »acupuncture »leg »limb »method »mirror »pain »stump »therapy

Phantom limb pain is currently treated with several different methods. Examples include mirror therapy, different types of medication, acupuncture and hypnosis. In many cases, however, nothing helps.

This was the case for the patient that Chalmers researcher Max Ortiz Catalan selected for a case study of the new treatment method he has envisaged as a potential solution.

The patient lost his arm 48 years ago, and had since that time suffered from phantom pain varying from moderate to unbearable. He was never entirely free of pain.

Drastically reduced pain

The patient´s pain was drastically reduced after a period of treatment with the new method. He now has periods where he is entirely free of pain, and he is no longer awakened by intense periods of pain at night like he was previously.

The new method uses muscle signals from the patient´s arm stump to drive a system known as augmented reality. The electrical signals in the muscles are sensed by electrodes on the skin. The signals are then translated into arm movements by complex algorithms. The patient can see himself on a screen with a superimposed virtual arm, which is controlled using his own neural command in real time.

”There are several features of this system which combined might be the cause of pain relief” says Max Ortiz Catalan. “The motor areas in the brain needed for movement of the amputated arm are reactivated, and the patient obtains visual feedback that tricks the brain into believing there is an arm executing such motor commands. He experiences himself as a whole, with the amputated arm back in place.”

Differs from previous treatment

Modern therapies that use conventional mirrors or virtual reality are based on visual feedback via the opposite arm or leg. For this reason, people who have lost both arms or both legs cannot be helped using these methods.

”Our method differs from previous treatment because the control signals are retrieved from the arm stump, and thus the affected arm is in charge” says Max Ortiz Catalan. ”The promotion of motor execution and the vivid sensation of completion provided by augmented reality may be the reason for the patient improvement, while mirror therapy and medicaments did not help previously.”

Clinical study

A clinical study will now be conducted of the new treatment, which has been developed in a collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, the University of Gothenburg and Integrum.

Three Swedish hospitals and other European clinics will cooperate during the study which will target patients with conditions resembling the one in the case study – that is, people who suffer from phantom pain and who have not responded to other currently available treatments.

The research group has also developed a system that can be used at home. Patients will be able to apply this therapy on their own, once it has been approved. An extension of the treatment is that it can be used by other patient groups that need to rehabilitate their mobility, such as stroke victims or some patients with spinal cord injuries.

For more information, please contact:
Max Ortiz Catalan, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 708 46 10 65, maxo@chalmers.se

The case study Treatment of phantom limb pain (PLP) based on augmented reality and gaming controlled by myoelectric pattern recognition: a case study of a chronic PLP patient was published in Frontiers in Neuroscience on 25 Feb, 2014.

Link to article: http://www.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnins.2014.00024/abstract

Watch more on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/neuromotus

Weitere Informationen:

http://sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/news_and_events/news/News_Detail/phantom-limb-p...

Krister Svahn | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Phantom limb pain acupuncture leg limb method mirror pain stump therapy

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>