Saturday December 10, 2016
Mysterious phantom pain 'cured' by virtual reality limb
Phantom limb pain is common in people who have experienced the amputation of any part of their body. Traditional treatments include pain killers, acupuncture, and a common process known as mirror therapy.
But Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan, an Assistant Professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has developed a novel method using machine learning and augmented reality.
In the experiment, amputees are able to control a virtual limb on a computer screen as artificial intelligence algorithms translate signals from muscles in the remaining part of the limb. In this process, the part of the brain that was once used to activate the limb is reactivated.
The researchers believe tricking the brain in this way may be responsible for the success of the experiment. All 14 volunteers experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in phantom limb pain.
- Neuroscience News: Phantom Movements in Augmented Reality Helps Patients With Phantom Limb Pain
- Reuters News: Can virtual reality games help with phantom limb pain?