Prosthesis users are known to adapt their surroundings in such a way that alternative motor strategies are created to maximize the usage after amputation. Researchers and scientists including prosthetists have identified certain hand-selective areas of the brain to understand the relationship between the brain and somatosensory connectivity in amputees, specifically ones with congenital or acquired hand loss. These hand-selective areas are ones responsible for the connection between the sensorimotor cortex and visual systems located in different regions of the brain. One experiment, conducted by the study “Artificial limb representation in amputees”, has allowed for revolutionary progress to be made with prosthetics and AI integration into the brain for advanced manipulation of the missing limb. These discoveries persisted through the results of the study. Through three different sections of the experiment--questionnaires, behavioral tasks, and an MRI session--the researchers were able to identify the importance of the hand-selective areas and the relationship with external stimuli. The one-handers presented with the stimuli images of different types of prosthetics responded in the MRI based on their prior experience with their own prosthetic. The more an amputee used their artificial limb, the stronger the highlighted regions of the hand-selective areas of the brain in the MRI session. The three-fold coupling found between visual activity in the hand-selective areas, visuomotor connectivity, and usage of the prosthesis suggests the extent of the role certain hand-selective areas play with amputees, anticipating further advancement in this field with the alternative motor strategies.
Research Paper by Vandana Vijay Kumar. Grade 10, Suwanee, GA