Hand Transplants Demonstrate the Nervous System’s Amazing Adaptability

Hand Transplants Demonstrate the Nervous System’s Amazing Adaptability

In 1998 a team in France performed the second hand transplant in history, followed shortly thereafter by a group at Louisville's Jewish Hospital in Kentucky. This involvement of the former hand areas occurs in addition to typical activity within those areas dedicated to the healthy hand. But he never showed any uncertainty about whether these sensations were coming from his intact or transplanted hand. David eventually succumbed to cancer, but a transplanted hand can last for decades without any apparent consequences. He localized touch at all locations on his transplanted hand; on average, he was only a few millimeters less accurate than on his uninjured one.

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