J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74:150-153 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.2.150
  • Review: Physical signs

The deep tendon and the abdominal reflexes

  1. J P R Dick
  1. Correspondence to:
    J P R Dick, Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre, Hope Hospital, Salford M8 6HD, UK;
  • Received 15 March 2002
  • Revised 4 September 2002
  • Accepted 26 September 2002


The deep tendon reflexes (and the abdominal reflexes) are important physical signs which have a special place in neurological diagnosis, particularly in early disease when they alone may be abnormal. They act as “hard” signs in situations where clinical assessment is complicated by patient anxiety, and become more useful as clinical experience develops.