Congratulations go to First Year Specialist (Year 12) Audrey Fu (V), who has been Highly Commended in the Corpus Christi College Essay Competition for Biology with her essay researching the issue of phantom pain arising from amputated limbs. As summarised below, Audrey's essay concludes the word phantom is a misnomer in this context:
The essay discusses the extent of which phantom pain be explained by the biological workings of our body, rather than previously conceived psychological causes. Through analysing the Cartesian and neuromatrix models of pain, the basic mechanism of phantom pain, as well as the social and psychological factors that led to phantom pain being addressed as psychosomatic, it is suggested that phantom pain is primarily biological. Furthermore, the concept of phantom pain as a memory is discussed and supported with biological evidence in Ramachandran’s work on phantom pain and the brain. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, it is concluded that phantom pain has a strong biological basis.
Further information on the Corpus Christi College Essay Competitions is available here.