Author Topic: question in Podcast #46's "science or fiction": ph  (Read 3140 times)

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Offline cckung

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question in Podcast #46's "science or fiction": ph
« on: January 12, 2007, 06:50:38 AM »
Hi all:

First time posting after listening several podcasts of this great program. I now listen to it all the time in my daily commute.

I have a question regarding the "The phantom limb (PL) pain is psychosomastic", meaning that this illusory pain feeling is from the central nervous system (primary from the brain). The answers from all the panel, including the host's answer, were that it was fake. I was confused. Being a cognitive neuroscience major, I cannot believe that the magical mirror box that cured/relieved the phantom limb pain, introduced by Ramachadran et al 1998 book, was now superceded by the old and incomplete peripheral nerve ending explanation. To be sure, I just checked up the wikipedia about phantom limb and an additional online artile that summarized the current explanations underlying PL, and understand that either the pheripheral nerve stump account, or the psychosomatic hypothesis, cannot fully explain all the PL phenomenon. Given that, I was wondering where can I find the evidence that Steve mentioned in the show: "actually there is a recent study showing that the localization of the phantom limb pain is not actually localized in the brain, but in the nerve ending itself".

hope you don't mind my inquiry, (or constructive criticism) and please keep the good work!
CCK

Offline Steven Novella

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question in Podcast #46's "science or fiction": ph
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2007, 11:07:58 AM »
CCK,

In the notes page for that episode, simply hit the Answer button under Science or Fiction and you will see the answers with references. The text of that article is actually clipped into that window.
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline cckung

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Re:
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2007, 02:34:27 PM »
Thanks Steve for the link and the papers. I think the ideas championed by this and the accompanying comment paper in the same issue of J Neurophy, 2006 was quite interesting, challenging my previous (and now traditional) understanding about phantom limb pain (PLP). From the brain scientist perspective, the recent behavioral treatments, including the magic mirror box or virtural reality immersion, was based on the premises that once the patient sees his/her lost limb functioning by the trick of mirror or virtual reality, the symptons could be much relieved. Such findings, although may now seem anectodal and lacking large-sample expermentation, surely support the psychosomatic account. But on the other hand, as Devor, the author of the comment paper, stated: "that the Alberta team "didn't prove that the central nervous system isn't involved, but they have shown that the peripheral nerve probably is highly involved.", the whole story may still reflect the intricate interactions between peripheral and central nervous system.

Thanks for the link, which updates my knowledge on the PLP phenomenon.

CCK

Offline heliocentricra

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question in Podcast #46's "science or fiction": ph
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2007, 09:47:20 PM »
Have there been any formal studies on the effectiveness of Ramachandran's device?

Offline cckung

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question in Podcast #46's "science or fiction": ph
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2007, 09:56:04 AM »
It's funny that although Rama's magic box was quite well known, so far it has only been tested in an anecdotal manner for the PLP (despite of a recent paper that demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the pain in complex regional pain syndrome).
CCK