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Constitute hypothesis for origin of supernumerary phantom limb (SPL) after stroke.
Single case description, review of literature and formulation of hypothesis.
A 59-year-old lady was evaluated for complaints of left-sided hemiparesis and extra limbs attached to her left shoulder for the past 7 months. Neuropsychological assessment revealed left hemineglect with SPL, and profile suggested bilateral frontal, right parietotemporal and basal ganglia involvement. Magnetic resonance imaging brain scan showed gliotic cavity secondary to the old haematoma in right putamen with white matter changes in the right frontoparietotemporal lobes.
The conceptual framework of body schema can be used to classify many of the neurological disorders of body representation. Generation of SPL comes under the subtype of pathology of updating among the disorders of body schema. The continuous updating allows the body schema to modulate perceptual processing of objects according to their position in space. Brain areas classified as parts of motor system can, under pathological conditions (haemorrhage), influence body perception. So, when she used to move her arm, the representation of the estimated position was not updated by the motor commands. Sensory and motor information therefore becomes discrepant, and failure to integrate these two sources of information leads to loss of normal coherence, and the perceived shape of the body was altered by adding a SPL to accommodate the discrepancy.
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