Brain changes following childhood limb loss may be reversible

In a recent study, investigators found that certain changes in the brain that occurred after limb amputation in a child were reversible after restoring sensory input through bilateral hand transplantation. The findings are published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

"We are still learning exactly how these large-scale changes in the brain's representation of the body occur; however, our data show that such changes can be reversed once sensory input is restored (such as via transplantation)," said lead author Dr. William Gaetz, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "These observations are consistent with the idea that--at least for our pediatric patients--large-scale changes in the brain following injury or amputation act to preserve established functional brain areas, which are reactivated with recovery of the hands."

Credit: 
Wiley