A recent study reported in “Scientific Reports” has discovered that after an individual’s limb is amputated, areas in the brain that are responsible for sensation and movement modify their functional communication. Functional communication refers to the communication of different areas of the brain.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the D’Or Institute for Research and Education, may assist physicians in better understanding why some amputees don’t report phantom sensations while others do. Their research also represents an advancement toward the complete understanding of the brain’s ability to alter itself in response to different situations. This ability, which is referred to as brain plasticity, is crucial for behavior, memory and learning throughout an individual’s life but is greater during the early stages of an individual’s development.
For their study, the neuroscientists studied individuals who had had their lower limbs amputated. In a prior study, the researchers’ MRI experiment led to the discovery that when a stump is touched, the brain overreacts. This is in addition to discovering that a structure in the brain that connects cortical areas responsible for sensations and movement, known as the corpus callosum, loses its strength.
The researchers recruited 18 participants for their study. Of those, nine were lower-limb amputees while the remaining were healthy volunteers. Their study objective was to explore the functional communication differences among sensation and motor areas connected by the corpus callosum.
Their findings prove that the researchers’ prior discovery was correct as they show that motor and sensitive areas in the brains of the lower limb amputees displayed an abnormal pattern of communication among the left and right hemispheres when their stump was touched. In addition to this, they also discovered increased functional communication in motor and sensitive areas of the same hemisphere in the amputated patients.
Ivanei Bramati, a medical physicist who was part of the study, explained that the findings demonstrated a functional imbalance in patients who reported phantom sensations, even when they weren’t in pain. The researchers believe that understanding these neural network changes can assist in the development of new devices and technologies that treat phantom limb sensations, affording patients a better quality of life.
In addition to this, the researchers believe that learning more about brain plasticity may be useful in the development of new treatments for various mental health conditions. Companies such as Tryp Therapeutics Inc. (CSE: TRYP) (OTCQB: TRYPF), which is looking to develop psychedelic-based formulations indicated for phantom limb pain, are keenly interested in these breakthrough reports.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Tryp Therapeutics Inc. (CSE: TRYP) (OTCQB: TRYPF) available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/TRYPF
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