Phantom Limb and Anasognosia Syndromes

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Every minute of the day, our brain receives an excessive amount of information about what the body is experiencing. It is continuously working with various sensations, some of which we aren’t even consciously aware of (Mehling et al., 2009). The brain does this so well that we become accustomed to trusting everything it tells us. Our own body and self-awareness is based on this communication and feedback from the brain. Self awareness is a multifaceted concept that involves the ability to focus on and be aware of internal and external bodily sensations in regards to oneself and their place in the world around them (Mehling et al., 2009). What happens though, when there are major alterations to our physical state? How do we cope when our brain and our body are telling us different information? It is these questions that will be covered in the essay with a strong focus on two abnormal syndromes known as phantom limb and anosognosia. When a person suffers from an extreme disease or injury, they can experience both physical and mental pain. In the case of Phantom limb, the physical pain can be intensified as it exists in a limb that is no longer there. Not only does this make curing it a lot more difficult, it can also result in serious mental anguish. Phantom limb sufferers not only go through the torment of having a limb amputated, they then undergo further misery as their brain plays tricks on them. Phantom limb is the experience of feeling a limb that has been amputated. Alongside this, can be the experience of pain (Goldstein, 2010). Some patients have reported a similar experience in other body parts that have been removed such as the tongue or breast (Woodhouse, 2005). When a patient describes sensation in the amputated l... ... middle of paper ... ... phantom pain. Neuroscience, 2, 163-164. doi: Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. Box B, Phantom Limbs and Phantom Pain. Goldstein, E.B., (2010). Sensation and Perception (8th Ed). Wadsworth: Belmont, USA. Ramachandran, V.S. (1993). Behavioral and magnetoencephalographic correlates of plasticity in the adult human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 90, 10413-10420. doi: 10.1073/pnas.90.22.10413 Mehling, W.E., Gopisetty, V., Daubenmier, J., Price, C.J., Hecht, F.M., & Stewart, A. (2009). Body awareness: construct and self-report measures. PLoS One, 4, 5614. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005614 Davis, K.D., Kiss, Z.H., Luo, L., & Tasker, R.R. (1998). Phantom sensations generated by thalamic microstimulation. Nature, 391, 385-387. doi: 10.1038/34905

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