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Extra info for Pattern Formation In The Physical And Biological Sciences (Santa Fe Institute Series, Volume 5)
In the hemisphere contralateral to the normal remaining arm, it is possible to observe a significant spacing between the representations of face-arm-hand. However, in the affected hemisphere, the representation of the face is seen to shift toward the site of representation of the missing arm and hand. In perhaps the most striking finding, Ramachandran had amputee patients view a mirror image of their remaining hand from such an angle that it visually appeared to be the missing hand. Patients were instructed to move both "hands" symmetrically through a range of motions.
Other regularities become apparent. Thus, sometimes excitatory and inhibitory connections alternate in a layer in a way very suggestive of multistable electronic circuits; this part of the automaton seems then to be in charge of short-term memory, storing temporarily the results of some computation on a first string. Another readily visible feature is the presence of strong lateral inhibition. Thus, with no design effort beyond that of setting up the initial architecture, and designing a testing routine that progressively and faithfully represents the task at hand, we can claim to have reached a stage where efficient success was possible.
There is no way in which these arbors can account for shifts over 15 mm, and perhaps the most likely explanation is that anatomical sprouting occurred over the decade of recovery. Sprouting has been documented in striate cortex following recovery from 34 L H. Finke! laser-induced retinal scotomas. 10 None of the models consider the possibility of new anatomical connections, and it remains to be determined whether such long-term changes follow similar rules. Related map changes have been demonstrated in humans who had recently undergone arm amputation and were experiencing "phantom" limb syndrome.