Etiology of phantom limb syndrome: Insights from a 3D default space consciousness model

Medical Hypotheses 85 (2):153-259 (2015)
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In this article, we examine phantom limb syndrome to gain insights into how the brain functions as the mind and how consciousness arises. We further explore our previously proposed consciousness model in which consciousness and body schema arise when information from throughout the body is processed by corticothalamic feedback loops and integrated by the thalamus. The parietal lobe spatially maps visual and non-visual information and the thalamus integrates and recreates this processed sensory information within a three-dimensional space termed the ‘‘3D default space.’’ We propose that phantom limb syndrome and phantom limb pain arise when the afferent signaling from the amputated limb is lost but the neural circuits remain intact. In addition, integration of conflicting sensory information within the default 3D space and the loss of inhibitory afferent feedback to efferent motor activity from the amputated limb may underlie phantom limb pain.
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