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Revealing the neural fingerprints of a missing hand

Kikkert, Sanne, Kolasinski, James ORCID:, Jbabdi, Saad, Tracey, Irene, Beckmann, Christian F., Johansen-Berg, Heidi and Makin, Tamar R. 2016. Revealing the neural fingerprints of a missing hand. eLife 5 , e15292. 10.7554/eLife.15292

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The hand area of the primary somatosensory cortex contains detailed finger topography, thought to be shaped and maintained by daily life experience. Here we utilise phantom sensations and ultra high-field neuroimaging to uncover preserved, though latent, representation of amputees’ missing hand. We show that representation of the missing hand’s individual fingers persists in the primary somatosensory cortex even decades after arm amputation. By demonstrating stable topography despite amputation, our finding questions the extent to which continued sensory input is necessary to maintain organisation in sensory cortex, thereby reopening the question what happens to a cortical territory once its main input is lost. The discovery of persistent digit topography of amputees’ missing hand could be exploited for the development of intuitive and fine-grained control of neuroprosthetics, requiring neural signals of individual digits.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications
ISSN: 2050-084X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 February 2017
Date of Acceptance: 22 August 2016
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 18:37

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