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Brain (re)organisation following amputation: implications for phantom limb pain

Makin, TR; Flor, H; (2020) Brain (re)organisation following amputation: implications for phantom limb pain. NeuroImage 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116943. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Following arm amputation the region that represented the missing hand in primary somatosensory cortex (S1) becomes deprived of its primary input, resulting in changed boundaries of the S1 body map. This remapping process has been termed ‘reorganisation’ and has been attributed to multiple mechanisms, including increased expression of previously masked inputs. In a maladaptive plasticity model, such reorganisation has been associated with phantom limb pain (PLP). Brain activity associated with phantom hand movements is also correlated with PLP, suggesting that preserved limb functional representation may serve as a complementary process. Here we review some of the most recent evidence for the potential drivers and consequences of brain (re)organisation following amputation, based on human neuroimaging. We emphasise other perceptual and behavioural factors consequential to arm amputation, such as non-painful phantom sensations, perceived limb ownership, intact hand compensatory behaviour or prosthesis use, which have also been related to both cortical changes and PLP. We also discuss new findings based on interventions designed to alter the brain representation of the phantom limb, including augmented/virtual reality applications and brain computer interfaces. These studies point to a close interaction of sensory changes and alterations in brain regions involved in body representation, pain processing and motor control. Finally, we review recent evidence based on methodological advances such as high field neuroimaging and multivariate techniques that provide new opportunities to interrogate somatosensory representations in the missing hand cortical territory. Collectively, this research highlights the need to consider potential contributions of additional brain mechanisms, beyond S1 remapping, and the dynamic interplay of contextual factors with brain changes for understanding and alleviating PLP.

Type: Article
Title: Brain (re)organisation following amputation: implications for phantom limb pain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116943
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116943
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: neuroimaging, cortical reorganisation, phantom limb pain, preserved function, multivariate analysis, pain treatment, use-dependent plasticity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098203
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