Rehabilitation Neuroscience Lab in press: Dr. Frey looks for links between the brain and ‘lost’ limbs


Curl your fingers around a glass of water. Grip the corner of a page. Send a text message.

Most of us perform these actions without thinking, but Scott Frey thinks about them all the time.

Frey studies the brains of people who have lost use of or feeling in a hand due to nerve injury. He wants to know how the brain is affected when the hand is missing or no longer able to respond.

He's curious about the areas of the brain that once controlled the hand and received sensations like touch and temperature. Frey also studies people who have received a transplant for a missing hand.

"I'm very interested in how changes in experience shape the brain," he said.

Frey is a professor of psychological sciences and the director of the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory at MU. In a study published in September, he and his four co-authors discovered that the brain is quite adaptable when a limb is lost.