Healing Mirror Trick
Vilayanur S. Ramachandran invented a simple method in the 1990s that alleviates phantom pain. He proved that our body sensation originates in the brain.
I have always believed that every phenomenon can be fathomed with simple scientific means." This is how the neurologist Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran once summed up his research ethos. Ramachandran – known to many of his colleagues as "Rama" for short – was born in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu in 1951. His father was an engineer by training but was a diplomat in the United Nations for a long time. He moved frequently with his family, including to Thailand. The young Vilayanur first went to school in Chennai, the capital of the province of Tamil Nadu with almost five million inhabitants, and later in Bangkok. He then began to study medicine in his home country.
While doing his doctorate at Trinity College, Cambridge (England), which he completed in 1978, Ramachandran discovered his passion for neuropsychology. He examined the causes of synaesthetic perceptions and phantom pains as well as the interaction of body, mind and consciousness. Today, Ramachandran is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, where he has directed the Center for Brain and Cognition since 1998.
Here he turned increasingly to neurological disorders, including Capgras Syndrome (which causes sufferers to mistake loved ones for doubles) and body image disorders. The often strange consequences of amputations aroused his interest."Almost 90 percent of people who have lost a limb perceive the missing body part as if it were still there," explains the researcher. In around two-thirds of cases, this manifests itself as pain for which there has long been no cure. How should you treat a body part that was no longer there? …