Arm, hand amputees sought

EUGENE, Ore. -- (March 23, 2009) -- A University of Oregon researcher is seeking people, ages 18-65, who either have lost or were born without an arm or hand for a study designed to advance his probe into the effects of limb loss on brain organization. Individuals with or without prostheses are welcome.

The research at the UO's Lewis Center for Neuroimaging seeks to identify the mechanisms involved in brain plasticity -- how the brain adapts -- when a limb is lost or is absent from birth. It is also hoped that the studies will unveil insights on phantom pain reported by many amputees and suggest potential rehabilitation approaches.

Participants are being sought nationally to undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they plan movements and undergo sensory and motor testing. Subjects will be paid for their time during testing ($30 per hour). Travel expenses, meals and lodging also will be covered.

"Our goal is to learn about changes in brain organization and behavior that occur as the result of limb loss or congenital absence," said Scott H. Frey, a professor of psychology and director of the neuroimaging center. It was Frey's lab that last fall reported the return of brain mapping -- the rewiring of neurons -- linked to a return of sensations in a hand-transplant patient.

Anyone interested in participating in the research, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, should contact Diana Alderetti by email ( or telephone at 541-346-0337.