The neural correlates of phantom sensations and phantom limb pain

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Clinical Neurosciences


Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a debilitating condition, occurring after limb amputation.
Traditionally, PLP is thought to be driven by maladaptive plasticity in the sensorimotor cortex1. However, treatment associated with such neural hypotheses (e.g. mirror-box therapy) report limited success.
Study 1) Plasticity in the neighbouring body part to the deprived hand region, and its relationship to phantom limb pain: this study aims to address the extent of maladaptive plasticity after amputation and it's association to phantom pain.

Study 2) How does impaired sensorimotor control influence the processing of nociception?: this study aims to use a reinforcement learning model (which models predictions and prediction errors) in the context of an active nociceptive learning task, thereby addressing study 1-3 below.

Study 3) Peripheral and central contributions to phantom sensation: here we are using peripheral (highly-detailed EMG electrode arrays) and central (MRI) correlates of phantom sensations and looking at their relative contributions to phantom perception.


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