Phantom Finger Points To Secrets In The Human Brain
The story below by Robert Krulwich, was published on the NPR Science blog. It is about a woman born with an upper limb deficiency who went on to have an amputation and then develop phantom limb syndrome.
"When she was born, her right hand wasn't right. Her thumb was stunted, she had no index finger. Her middle finger and her ring finger were rigid. Only her pinkie was normal.
Her name doesn't matter. In their science paper describing her case, her doctors call her "RN" to protect her privacy. It's her hand that has them thinking. Its truncated shape is often associated with thalidomide, a drug used during pregnancies in the 1950s and 1960s; RN, now in her late 50s, may have been a thalidomide baby.
Born unlucky, she got unluckier. When she was 18, she had a car accident so severe that it was necessary to amputate, and ever since she has had a stump where her right hand used to be...
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Tags: phantom limb thalidomide ectrodactlyl limb difference rare disease Article