Feb 082006

Lifting an arm, picking up your foot, wiggling your fingers – most of us can do these things without giving them a second thought. Once your brain has set the movement in motion how do you know (without looking) that the appendage responded appropriately? It turns out that you can’t really tell. NewScientist.com is reporting today that researchers from the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Sydney, Australia used a simple test to determine that the same signal your brain sends to initiate a movement is also responsible for the sensation of movement you feel, and this feeling occurs regardless of whether or not the actual movement takes place. Their results offer insight into the phantom limb phenomena, a sensation that a missing limb is still attached and is moving appropriately with other body parts, experienced by a majority of amputees.

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