Print

RN Jobs >> Browse Articles >> Medical Research/Science

Rate

In Double Transplant, Left Hand Works First

In Double Transplant, Left Hand Works First

Associated Press/AP Online

April 12, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — When patients had both hands transplanted, their brains re-established connections much more quickly with the left hand than the right, a team of researchers in France reports.

The sample was small, just two patients, but both had been right-handed before losing their hands, and both followed a pattern of reconnection with their brain that was quicker for the left hand.

The study, led by Angela Sirigu of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Lyon, France, is reported in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The research shows that even years after the loss of hands the brain can reorganize and rewire itself to recognize and connect to a replacement.

And it comes just days after French physicians, in a 30-hour operation, performed the world’s first simultaneous partial-face and double-hand transplant. Paris’ Public Hospital authority described the recipient as a 30-year-old burn victim who was injured in a 2004 accident.

Sirigu’s team used magnetic imaging to study the brains of people who had lost both hands and to see how the motor region that controls movement responded after new hands were transplanted.

The first case involved LB, a 20-year-old man injured in 2000, who received the transplants in 2003 after having used artificial hand devices in the meantime.

He was checked periodically and the researchers found his brain had re-established nerve connections to control the left hand by 10 months, while it took 26 months to complete the rewiring needed for the right hand.


NursingLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use NursingLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.


* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.