Phantom limb pain at Walter Reed: Mirror therapy works

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A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine offers new details on how mirror therapy addresses phantom limb pain — a topic covered by Vilayanur Ramachandran in his 2007 TEDTalk.

Inspired by Dr. Ramachandran’s work, a team of researchers from military hospitals tested a group of 22 patients with amputated lower limbs, and found that:

After 4 weeks of treatment, 100% of patients in the mirror group reported a decrease in pain (median change on the visual-analogue scale, –24 mm; range, –54 to –13), but two patients had brief reactions (<2 minutes) of grief on viewing the reflected intact lower limb.

A story on CNN.com this week tells the story of one of the authors of the study, Navy researcher Dr. Jack Tsao, in accessible, fascinating detail. Read the CNN story >>