V.S. Ramachandran on Phantom Limb Syndrome

April 15, 2012

Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran is renowned for his ability to crack strange neurological mysteries, from patients who think they're dead to people with phantom limb syndrome.  His work has not only helped cure his patients; it's also led to new insights into our neural pathways.  He tells Steve Paulson about the science behind phantom limb syndrome and his ingenious treatment for it.


Unfortunately, this article repeats many myths about V.S. Ramachandran's role in phantom limb research. First, the significant research on changes in the brain that are possibly the source of phantom limb pain was done by Herta Flor (University of Heidelberg). Ramachandran is not a neurologist and he has never conducted any clinical research on patients with phantom limb pain. The scientists who have actually carried out research on the subject have completely debunked most of Ramahcandran's theories on the subject. Last, but not least, the mirror box is not an effective treatment for phantom limb pain for most amputees.

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