Alien hand phenomena: a review with the addition of six personal cases

Can J Neurol Sci. 2000 Aug;27(3):192-203. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100000834.


This is a comprehensive literature review of the motor abnormalities that have come to be included under the designation of Alien Hand Phenomena (AHP). Some of the disorders are dyspractic in nature - intermanual conflict, mirror movements, interference etc., while others - groping, grasping with inability to release, utilization etc. are frontal lobe reflexes. AHP are mainly associated with two pathological processes: 1) Infarction or hemorrhage in the territory of the anterior cerebral arteries; and 2) Corticobasal degeneration. Included in the review is a description of AHP in six personal cases of corticobasal degeneration. The summary includes a short discussion of the possible anatomy of 'free will' based on AHP.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Basal Ganglia*
  • Cerebral Cortex*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / etiology*
  • Movement Disorders / psychology
  • Nerve Degeneration / complications*
  • Volition