advertisement
07 March 2013

Brain may treat wheelchair as part of the body

The brains of disabled people adjust to a wheelchair and treat it as an extension of their body, new research suggests.

The brains of disabled people adjust to a wheelchair and treat it as an extension of their body, essentially replacing limbs that don't function properly anymore, new research suggests.

At issue is what scientists call "brain plasticity," which describes the brain's ability to learn and adjust, something people do quite often when young and continue to do as they get older.

"If we learn how to play a piano or drive somewhere, that's plasticity in action," said Dr Alexander Dromerick, chief of rehabilitation medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC.

"To elude dangerous objects in the environment and the collisions that may occur during wheelchair use, the brain needs to encode an internal representation of the body that includes the wheelchair," she said.

For more on disabilities, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Lifestyle »

E-cigarettes: Here are five things to know

E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade, but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the US is feeding caution about a product that's already banned in some places.

Allergy »

Ditch the itch: Researchers find new drug to fight hives

A new drug works by targeting an immune system antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is responsible for the allergic reaction that causes hives.