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Augmented Reality Treatment May Alleviate Phantom Limb Pain 30

Zothecula writes with this excerpt from GizMag: "Studies have shown that a large percentage of amputees feel pain in their missing limbs. ... The ailment has so far proven difficult to treat, but a new study suggests therapy involving augmented reality and gaming could stimulate these unused areas of the brain (full journal article), resulting in a significant reduction in discomfort. ... In testing the treatment, the team used myolectric pattern recognition to predict phantom movements in the stump of a chronic PLP patient. By using the patterns as inputs in an augmented setting where a virtual arm was superimposed on the patient's real-life body, as well as controlling a car racing game, the team were able to gradually reduce the pain reported by the patient to zero." The study is an early one: there's only a single test subject, but one that had no success with any other form of treatment.
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Augmented Reality Treatment May Alleviate Phantom Limb Pain

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  • I'm curious because my Step Father (long departed) had lost a finger in an industrial accident in the 50s. Curiously he'd complain from time to time that his finger "itched" and it would drive him crazy because obviously it wasn't there. In his case I would have liked to have seen something along these lines that could have provided him some relief because when it happened it did cause a lot of anguish. At the time doctors had suggested hand surgery to shunt the nerves but since he made a living with his

  • Easier solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @12:46PM (#46346929)

    If you know anyone who has experiences phantom pain, I would suggest Mirror Therapy. Anyone can try it for the cost of a $20 mirror from Wal-Mart. It works. Takes about 4 weeks, 15 minutes per day. You won't have to wait for the Virtual Reality goggles to come to a store near you. This will get you started...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think the authors of the study are quite aware of mirror therapy given how many times it is mentioned in just the abstract of the article, and that they point out this particular patient was not responding to it.
    • I came here to say this. I'll add Ramachandran's book to the above post, Phantoms in the Brain [].
  • by Jeff Flanagan ( 2981883 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @12:55PM (#46347025)
    This sounds like a high-tech version of Mirror Therapy []
  • by Minwee ( 522556 )

    there's only a single test subject

    His name wouldn't happen to be Gilbert Gilgamesh Hamilton [], would it?

  • by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @01:15PM (#46347277)
    'How you doing, Dixie?'
    'I'm dead, Case. Got enough time in on this Hosaka to
    figure that one.'
    'How's it feel?'
    'It doesn't.'
    'Bother you?'
    'What bothers me is, nothin' does.'
    'How's that?'
    'Had me this buddy in the Russian camp, Siberia, his thumb
    was frostbit. Medics came by and they cut it off. Month later
    he's tossin' all night. Elroy, I said, what's eatin' you? Goddam
    thumb's itchin', he says. So I told him, scratch it. McCoy, he
    says, it's the other goddam thumb.' When the construct laughed,
    it came through as something else, not laughter, but a stab of
    cold down Case's spine. 'Do me a favor, boy.'
    'What's that, Dix?'
    'This scam of yours, when it's over, you erase this goddam

  • Sounds like, in the process of creating the virtual-reality hand model, they've also identified, extracted, and processed EXACTLY the signals necessary to operate a prosthetic.

    This gives us the expectation that with the cybernetic prosthetic in place the phantom limb pain may not be a problem, as well.

    (Of course that's presuming the summary is correct and it is confirmed.)

  • Miles just had part of his arm amputated after a slight accident packing up equipment. The former CNN science correspondent is currently working for PBS... []

  • Now there may be a use for wearing a device over your entire head.
  • Given the circumstances, you'd think testing would be a bit easier than they're making it out to be. I was asleep in a tent; it was about an hour before sunrise: just enough light to tell that there *was* light, but not to see anything. The sleeping back was a little too short for me -- had one arm at my side, and the other sprawled outward. I tried to pull it back in to the sleeping bag, where it was warm... and it wouldn't come. Which kinda freaked me out. I reached out for it with my other arm -- an

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Unfortunately, the problem was probably not limited availability of suitable subjects. More likely it was funding.

  • In the Ted Video (link below) he claims to have treated phantom limb pain with a mirror. Yes, a chap mirror. No expensive VR.

    Ted Talk: Vilayanur Ramachandran []

    • His results were limited, and VR/AR was always the way forward, and I think he may have even said that himself on several occasions.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.