Enhanced Tactile (Touch) Spatial Acuity in Upper Limb Amputees

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: December 17, 2001
Last updated: March 3, 2008
Last verified: March 2004

This study will examine whether tactile (touch) abilities at the lip are more acute in people with upper limb amputation compared with healthy normal volunteers. People with an amputated upper limb have an expanded brain representation of the lip that may correlate with heightened tactile spatial acuity.

Normal volunteers will be recruited for this study. Candidates will be screened with physical and neurological examinations. (Amputee volunteers will be studied at the amputee clinic at the University of Tubingen, Germany.)

Participants will sit comfortably in a chair, wearing a blindfold, during the following experiments:

  • Plastic domes with grooves are placed on parts of the lower lip on either side for a few seconds. The volunteer is then asked to identify the direction of the grooves relative to the long axis of the lip.
  • The participant's arm is placed in a cast and the index finger is immobilized. The same test done on the lip is repeated on the distal part of the index finger.

Each part of the test lasts about 20 minutes, and the entire experiment takes about 2 hours.


Study Type: Observational
Official Title: Enhancement of Tactile Spatial Acuity in Upper Limb Amputees

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Estimated Enrollment: 60
Study Start Date: December 2001
Estimated Study Completion Date: March 2004
Detailed Description:
Upper limb amputation leads to expansion of the cortical representation of the lip into the adjacent deafferented hand representation. It is conceivable that this enlargement of the lip representation may translate into a behavioral gain. The purpose of this protocol is to test the hypothesis that upper limb amputation in humans results in higher tactile spatial acuity at the lip. This would represent the first demonstration of chronic deafferentation-induced behavioral gains within the somatosensory system.

Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes


Normal volunteers who are willing and able to stay relaxed and collaborative for a period of up to 2 hours.

Subjects with upper limb amputation more than one year before testing.


Neurological or psychiatric disease

Excessive callus at the palm of the fingers

Subjects, who are unable to perform or understand the task

  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00028210

United States, Maryland
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  More Information

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00028210     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 020067  02-N-0067 
Study First Received: December 17, 2001
Last Updated: March 3, 2008
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Upper Limb Amputation
Tactile Performance
Cortical Reorganization
Healthy Volunteer
Normal Control

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on May 25, 2016