Phantom limb syndrome

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Chapter 10 endnote 23, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

[Chronic pain is] similar to phantom limb syndrome, when an amputee can still feel his missing arm or leg because his brain keeps issuing predictions about it.

After amputation, the loss of sensory input causes decreased connectivity between the region of somatosensory cortex where the limb is represented and motor cortex, but increased connectivity between this part of somatosensory cortex and the default mode network[1][2] (the part of the interoceptive system that issues predictions). Normally, the loss of sensory input leads to cortical degeneration. But this does not occur when there is phantom limb pain. Sensations continue (as a function of sensory predictions) in the absence of any sensory input. Chronic pain may be a problem with sensory predictions in a manner that is similar to phantom sensations after amputation (and also may be similar to tinnitus[3]).


Notes on the Notes

  1. Makin, Tamar R. and others. 2013. "Phantom pain is associated with preserved structure and function in the former hand area." Nature Communications 4: 1570, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2571
  2. Jerath, Ravinder, Molly W. Crawford, and Mike Jensen. 2015. "Etiology of phantom limb syndrome: insights from a 3D default space consciousness model." Medical Hypotheses 85 (2): 153-159.
  3. Mohan, Anusha, Dirk De Ridder, and Sven Vanneste. 2016. "Emerging hubs in phantom perception connectomics." NeuroImage: Clinical 11: 181-194.