The Mirage optical illusion
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Mind tricks may help arthritic pain

A chance discovery by academics in Nottingham has found that a simple optical illusion could unlock a drug-free treatment for arthritis.

The computer-generated mind trick has been tested on a small sample of sufferers and found that in 85 percent of cases it halved their pain.

Research is still in the early stages, but initial results suggest the technology, called Mirage, could help patients improve mobility in their hands by reducing the amount of pain they experience.

For the illusion to work patients place their hand inside a box containing a camera, which then projects the image in real time onto a screen in front of them.

The subject then sees their arthritic fingers being apparently stretched and shrunk by someone gently pushing and pulling from the other side of the box.

Anthony Bartram reports.

  • 14 Apr 2011
  • From the section Health
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