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Cloettapreis_2012_Nr_40

24 Recent advances in virtual reality and robotics are also opening novel av- enues for treatment and human enhancement of sensorimotor and cogni- tive functions.Virtual reality has already played an important role in aug- menting cognition, assisting motor rehabilitation, and as an effective treatment in anxiety and specific phobias57,58 . These treatments may be complemented and improved by including automatized manipulations of illusory hand ownership, self-location and self-identification. Diagnosis and treatments of other medical conditions such as pain syndromes28,59 and inflammation60 may also benefit from artificially induced changes in hand ownership, self-location and self-identification. Finally, the manip- ulation of bodily self-consciousness may generate and enhance bodily feelings for de-afferented body parts in patients with tetra- and paraple- gia following spinal cord injury. Recent work in amputee patients – ini- tiated by Ramachandran and colleagues61 – has already explored these possibilities for the design of future artificial limbs62,63 . Patients with med- ical conditions such as para- and tetraplegia as well as limb amputation may profit in the future from automatized procedures to enhance or aug- ment artificial bodies allowing them not only to move, but also to feel the «digital body» as their own body64-67 . Acknowledgements Supported by the Bertarelli Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foun- dation, and the European Science Foundation. I am grateful to Christian Pfeiffer, Bruno Herbelin, Shahar Arzy, Bigna Lenggenhager, Tej Tadi, Christophe Lopez, Jane Aspell, Silvio Ionta, and Lukas Heydrich for many discussions and their valuable critiques.

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