` There are interesting artificial limb breakthroughs abound, according to Re-wiring brings back touch for amputated limb - Surgery opens door to prosthetics that can 'feel' by Heidi Ledford.
` At age 24, Claudia Mitchell lost her left arm in a motorcycle accident, yet she can still feel her fingers. That is because Todd Kuiken and his surgeon colleagues at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago have moved the nerves that would have gone to her hand (if she still had it) into a muscle above her left breast!
` Why route arm nerves into one's chest? Believe it or not, this allowed her to get a better type of prosthetic: Her old, rather uncomfortable, prosthesis was so useless that she only wore it to make herself look more normal.
` Lucky for her, three months after this tricky procedure saw that her mental effort of moving the missing hand or arm caused the muscle to twitch, meaning the nerves were recovering. Later, she was fitted with a prosthetic arm, which she finally learned to control with that same muscle, and so can move the arm just by thinking about moving her original arm. In other words, this new arm can be controlled in somewhat the same way as her old one!
` Let us hope that those nerves never get the idea that they are not still in her arm!
` Perhaps someday there will be a prosthetic arm for her that takes signals from its fingers and relays those back to her re-wired nerves? Indeed, it would be as if she could feel her fingers again, though they would be artificial!
` Who knows what the next decade will bring?