The alien hand syndrome. Clinical and postmortem findings

Arch Neurol. 1989 Apr;46(4):456-9. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1989.00520400116030.


Two patients had automatonlike movements of their left hands and arms (alien hand syndrome) following damage to the brain. Autopsy findings in one patient demonstrated gunshot wound damage to the medial frontal white matter bilaterally, as well as the corpus callosum, right basal ganglia, internal capsule, and thalamus. The other patient had a ruptured anterior communicating aneurysm, with subsequent resection of the right frontal gyrus rectus. We postulate that this syndrome is due to the combination of a partial callosectomy and mesial frontal lesions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / complications*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / physiopathology
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Volition
  • Wounds, Gunshot / complications*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Gunshot / pathology