J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74:558-560 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.5.558
  • Physical Signs

The grasp and other primitive reflexes

  1. J M Schott1,
  2. M N Rossor2
  1. 1Dementia Research Group, Institute of Neurology, University College, London, UK
  2. 2Dementia Research Group, Institute of Neurology, University College, London; and Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: 
 Professor M N Rossor, Dementia Research Group, Box 16, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK; 
  • Received 9 December 2002
  • Accepted 13 December 2002


Primitive reflexes are typically present in childhood, suppressed during normal development, and may reappear with diseases of the brain, particularly those affecting the frontal lobes. In this review we discuss some historical aspects surrounding these reflexes, how they might be elicited and interpreted, and their potential clinical utility in modern neurological practice.


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