Recovery of nerve injury-induced alexia for Braille using forearm anaesthesia.
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Nerve injuries in the upper extremity may severely affect hand function. Cutaneous forearm anaesthesia has been shown to improve hand sensation in nerve-injured patients. A blind man who lost his Braille reading capability after an axillary plexus injury was treated with temporary cutaneous forearm anaesthesia. After treatment sensory functions of the hand improved and the patient regained his Braille reading capability. The mechanism behind the improvement is likely unmasking of inhibited or silent neurons, but after repeated treatment sessions at increasing intervals the improvement has remained at 1-year follow-up, implying a structural change in the somatosensory cortex.