BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-008232

Denervation of the ear and the ‘folding flower’ illusion

  1. David Bruce Williams
  1. Department of Neurology, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Bruce Williams, dvdbwilliams{at}


Following acute denervation of the ear, I experienced altered cutaneous sensory perception analogous to that reported by patients after limb amputation. This suggests that any sudden, complete loss of somaesthetic sensation can result in cortical reorganisation reflecting lost peripheral input. Although the short time course of the phenomenon suggests an initial functional reorganisation, it does not preclude longer time course structural alterations at multiple levels of the nervous system.

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