Beitrag im Forschungsmagazin Ruperto Carola

The brain processes the perceived, not the physical reality. This circumstance can be used to alter maladaptive perceptions in disorders such as phantom limb pain, where people feel pain in a body part that no longer exists. The sensation of pain is especially acute if the patients’ perception of the phantom limb is distorted and subject to a “telescope effect”: In their imagination, the missing body part, for example the hand, “moves” to the remaining stump; frequently, the amputated limb “disappears” into the body. In this case, we can use virtual reality (VR) applications to alter perception – for example by creating a moving limb where an arm was amputated – which in turn normalises brain functions that maintain maladaptive plasticity processes. 

 

Prof. Herta Flor discusses new aspects of pain therapy in the upcoming issues of RUPERTO CAROLA. The article can be downloaded here.

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