Primitive reflexes

Definition: Reflexes normally present in infancy. Pathological in adults.

Causes: dementia, frontal lobe lesions, interrupted communication with higher cortical centres.

Listed in order of increasing loss of inhibition.

Glabella tap

Tapping between eyes repeatedly causes blinking with no attenuation of response.

Grasp reflex

Stroking palm causes patient to grip fingers.

Suckling reflex

Stoking cheek produces rooting response. Thought to represent a greater loss of normal inhibition than suckling reflex (Paulson, 1977)

Pout reflex

Tap on closed lips provokes pouting.

Palmomental reflex

Scratching thenar eminence causes contraction of mentalis on ipsilateral side.