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Enhanced tactile spatial acuity and cortical processing during acute hand deafferentation


Acute deafferentation of a limb results in bilateral cortical reorganization1,2, but the behavioral consequences of this phenomenon are unknown. Here we found rapid improvements in tactile spatial acuity and changes in cortical processing for the left hand during cutaneous anesthesia of the right hand. The site-specific improvement in tactile spatial acuity may represent a behavioral compensatory gain.

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Figure 1: Effect of cutaneous anesthesia on tactile spatial acuity.
Figure 2: Components of scalp and sensory nerve action (SNAP) potentials

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Correspondence to Robert W. Van Boven or Leonardo G. Cohen.

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One of the authors (R.V.B.) receives royalties for the sales of one of the devices (Tactile Acuity Gratings) used in this study. These royalties amount to less than five hundred dollars (US$500) yearly.

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Werhahn, K., Mortensen, J., Van Boven, R. et al. Enhanced tactile spatial acuity and cortical processing during acute hand deafferentation. Nat Neurosci 5, 936–938 (2002).

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