Brain, nerves and muscles

I have just read a very positive heartwarming story about a man who received a double hand transplant. He is now able to do many everyday tasks with his hands that I basically long to do.

Has anyone any idea why it is possible for the brain and nervous system to connect usefully in this way with hands that are not even his biologically when my own hand I have had from birth is so stubbornly unresponsive to my nervous system? It makes me wonder whether these lines of enquiry are been vigourously explored by the neuroscientists. Any explanation or insight into this would be gratefully received!

8 Replies

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  • this is an interesting line of thinking.

  • I think the major difference is any brain damage suffered by a stroke victim. Someone who has new hands would have similar problems to us if they suffered similar brain damage. Of course, that's discounting any neuroplasticity, which can be anything from nothing to everything.

  • yes- my physio said it's because the hand transplant is basically rewiring whereas my controlling computer is smashed!(not sure what the transplant surgeon would say about that!)

  • Yep, though I wouldn't quite go so far as to say smashed, inconvenienced definitely!

    I'm reminded of the Golgafrincham Spaceship Damage...

  • Had to look that one up but can't find how damage was repaired!

  • That's why the analogy works, there was no repair to the damage yet the spaceship kept on functioning just as it did.

  • Thanks- that's a great thought. I find that my sleep, which used to be dominated by work worries, (hence the high blood pressure?) is now dominated by thinking about those neurons! I think I need a pan galactic gargle blaster!

  • It's a quick way to a high blood pressure, yes. But you know that. :-)

    You also know that a slice of lemon wrapped in a large gold brick is a no-no too... ;)

    Come to think of it, what are you thinking about? Neurons? Why? Are they fun? ;)

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