Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prosthesis with information at its fingertips: Hand prosthesis that eases phantom pain

Date:
August 9, 2010
Source:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Summary:
The pain of losing a body part is twofold, as patients not only suffer from wound pain. Often they are also affected by so called phantom pain. Unlike bodily wounds which will eventually heal, phantom pain often lasts for years and sometimes a lifetime. Now scientists in Germany have modified conventional hand prostheses in order to reduce phantom pain after an underarm amputation.

Pressure sensors between thumb and index finger regulate the power of the artificial hand.
Credit: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU

The pain of losing a body part is twofold, as patients not only suffer from wound pain. Often they are also affected by so called phantom pain. Unlike bodily wounds which will eventually heal, phantom pain often lasts for years and sometimes a lifetime.

Related Articles


"Phantom pain is very difficult to treat," says Professor Dr Thomas Weiss from the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena. "Mostly they prove to be highly therapy-resistant," the professor at the Department for Biological and Clinical Psychology says. In many cases the symptoms persist, in spite of high dosages of painkillers. This puts patients at a high risk of medication addiction, according to the pain research scientist.

But now scientists of the University of Jena give cause for hope to the affected patients. Together with the trauma surgeons of the Jena University Hospital, business partners and supported by the German Social Accident Insurance (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung, DGVU) Professor Weiss´s team modified conventional hand prostheses in order to reduce phantom pain after an underarm amputation.

A stimulation unit which is connected to the remaining part of the upper arm by a cuff plays a crucial part in the newly developed medical device.

"There are pressure sensors between thumb and index finger as well as on the thumb of the hand prosthesis," Professor Dr Dr Gunther Hofmann, Director of the Jena Department for Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery explains.

Originally they were only meant to regulate the strength of grip of the artificial hand -- depending on what the patient wanted to pick up -- a raw egg or a hammer.

"Our system is now able to transmit this sensory information from the hand to the upper arm," says trauma surgeon Hofmann. "Thus the brain picks up the feedback from the prosthesis as if it was one´s own hand," Professor Weiss adds, explaining the cause for phantom pain: The brain structures that were originally responsible for the stimulus processing of the arm are suddenly "out of work" after the loss of the limb. This induces a functional re-organization of these brain regions.

"These areas take over the processing of sensory stimuli from other body parts, especially the arm stump and the face," says the Jena psychologist. As a result intensified and sometimes painful sensations occur -- the phantom pain.

By means of the feedback between the artificial hand and the brain, provided by the Jena system, the re-organization of the brain is supposed to be prevented or to be reversed. "The first patients who have tested the system were very positive about it," Professor Hofmann was delighted to report. It was important now to test the feedback system on as many patients as possible, he added.

"We would like to know if the transmission of sensory information from the hand is helpful to only a few people or if it is a therapeutic for all wearers of artificial limbs," explains Professor Weiss.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. "Prosthesis with information at its fingertips: Hand prosthesis that eases phantom pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100806125508.htm>.
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. (2010, August 9). Prosthesis with information at its fingertips: Hand prosthesis that eases phantom pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100806125508.htm
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. "Prosthesis with information at its fingertips: Hand prosthesis that eases phantom pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100806125508.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins