Saturday, October 18, 2014

Amputees Discern Familiar Sensations Across Prosthetic Hand

News Brief by Jessica Newfield

Medical researchers at Case Western Reserve University are developing a prosthetic system to return real sensations to people with prosthetic limbs, as well as diminish phantom pain. With this, researchers hope to improve function and help those with prosthetic limbs better connect with their surroundings. The system includes sensors that have programed algorithms to convert the physical input from the sensors into electrical signals sent to the brain so that the person can detect these senses. So far, patients have been able to detect pressure in different locations on their hands as well as the sensations of water, sandpaper, and cotton. Patients have reported that an increased ability of sensations resulted in diminished phantom pain, as well as the ability to actually “feel” their prosthetic hand as connected to their body. This technology will be applied in research to help those with prosthetic legs to sense different textures, such as ice and gravel, and uneven surfaces to help adjust with walking. 

Case Western Reserve University. "Amputees discern familiar sensations across prosthetic hand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2014. .
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